Hartsville, S.C. (NEWS RELEASE) – The City of Hartsville has named Jerry Thompson as the Hartsville Police Department's new chief. A veteran law enforcement officer, Thompson has served the department as Acting Chief since January, when he stepped in to fill the position of outgoing Chief James Hudson.
Thompson's long career has included time with the S.C. Highway Patrol, the S.C. Wildlife and Marine Resources Law Enforcement Division and the S.C. Law Enforcement Division. He began serving the Darlington County Sheriff's Office in 2008 and left as its Chief Deputy in January 2015. He has previously served as Hartsville's Acting Chief for a brief transition period at the beginning of James Hudson's tenure in 2011. Thompson was chosen as Police Chief by a selection committee of City of Hartsville staff with assistance from Commander Anson Shells of the Florence Police Department.
"Jerry Thompson is a man of great integrity, drive and experience," Hartsville Mayor Mel Pennington said. "He has served on the security detail of Governor David Beasley, and he will bring that level of professionalism to the department. He was there for the Hartsville community before when we needed stability in a transition, and we're thrilled that he's there for us again. We can always count on him to be a strong leader for our city."
The department which Thompson will lead is home to 36 sworn officers. It has taken on community engagement opportunities first begun under the leadership of Chief Hudson, including the STAND Program to fight drug market issues alongside residents, an annual Youth Summit created in partnership with several local organizations, and Project PERK, a student-led effort to build stronger relationships between students and law enforcement.
City Manager Natalie Zeigler said Thompson has shown himself to be a strong leader of his staff and an excellent communicator with the public.
"The Hartsville Police Department has a proud history of building bridges within the community, and we know Jerry Thompson can drive that mission forward," she said. "We're grateful to have a man of his abilities and compassion working for our residents."
Thompson said he has already felt honored and humbled by his treatment from the people of Hartsville.
"In my time as Police Chief, my mission will be to make Hartsville the safest place that I can. The people of Hartsville have in many ways shown that they care about me, and through my work, I want to show that I care about them. I'm looking forward to the work ahead," he said.