Media Contacts: Michelle Byers Brown, Director of Tourism & Communications/Public Information Officer

843.799.7584 (cell) /843.917.0584 (office) or

Hartsville, SC: The City of Hartsville, SC announces the retirement of Chief Jerry Thompson from the Hartsville Police Department (HPD), effective February 14, 2023.  Chief Thompson has served Hartsville since 2015 after a long career in public service beginning in 1973.

Chief Thompson began his career in public service at the Rock Hill, SC Fire Department in January of 1973 before he accepted a position with the South Carolina Highway Patrol where he was assigned to Darlington County. He served with the SC Highway Patrol for five years, before he joined the South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resource Department Law Enforcement Division where he served from 1978 – 1990. From 1990 – 1997 Chief Thompson served with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) as a Special Agent and was assigned to the Governor’s Raid Team, created by Governor Carroll Campbell, to combat the illegal drug trade in the State of South Carolina.  He worked to assist all 46 counties in the state with drug crimes while in this unit and remained there until 1993 when he was assigned to Governor David Beasley’s Executive Protection detail. At the end of 1997, he retired after serving 25 years in law enforcement at the state level.

After leaving State Government, Chief Thompson led his own private security company from 1997 – 2001. Additionally, he was the Director of Security at Darlington Raceway from 2002 – 2008.  In 2008, Chief Thompson re-entered police work and accepted the position of Chief Deputy with Darlington County, where he served until 2015.  In 2015, he became the Interim Police Chief for the HPD and was later that year named Police Chief.  During Chief Thompson’s tenure the HPD has been awarded The South Carolina Department of Public Safety’s Agency of the Year Award in 2016 and 2022 for DUI Enforcement, Underage Education, and Victim Services.  The HPD has also been awarded Gold Level Awards from 2018 – 2022 from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Network (SLEN), which focuses on working together with other agencies in our region and across the State to lower the number of traffic fatalities and reduce the number of impaired driving incidents.

The City of Hartsville appreciates Chief Thompsons’s commitment to the City and is deeply grateful for the significant contributions he has made and wish him the best in his future endeavors. Captain Jason Privette, of the HPD, will serve as Acting Police Chief.