On the eve of a typically busy holiday travel period, two troopers were chosen this week to lead the S.C. Highway Patrol.

Michael Oliver, a 29-year patrol veteran, was promoted to colonel, a position in which he will command 804 troopers and 188 non-uniformed workers.

He had been serving in that capacity on an interim basis after Col. Kenny Lancaster's retirement last month.

Oliver picked Chris Williamson, a former captain of the Charleston-area Troop 6 and a Moncks Corner resident, as his lieutenant colonel.

The S.C. Department of Public Safety, which includes the Highway Patrol and five other departments, announced that the two will focus on traffic enforcement through the year's end.

"It is in the best interest of our troopers and employees to have capable, strong leadership as we go into the holidays," Public Safety Director Leroy Smith said in a statement. "The holidays are a critical time on our roadways."

Oliver, 52, who lives in Lancaster, oversaw traffic enforcement and safety outreach as lieutenant colonel.

In 2008, he was assigned to the agency's headquarters in Blythewood, where he managed the telecommunications unit.

Williamson, 49, joined the Highway Patrol in 1988 and has worked in the Charleston area since 2009.