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Fred Thompson thought Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile was kidding him, but as it turned out, Thompson had plenty to smile about.
Thompson, a sheriff’s office investigator, was recently presented the S.C. Deputy of the Year award by the S.C. Sheriff’s Association at the association’s annual convention in Hilton Head.
“When I heard, I thought the sheriff was just teasing me,” Thompson said. “It took awhile to let it sink in.”
There’s plenty to smile about at the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office and there’s just as much pride.
The department is building quite a tradition in earning state awards.
A year ago, Lt. Eric Brown won the same award and now-undersheriff Maj. Matt Shaw earned the Training Officer of the Year from the S.C. Training Officers Association.
Faile said those awards, along with several Medals of Valor earned by deputies in the last few years, reflect a strong workforce.
“This is a testament to how we have the top officers working for this agency,” Faile said. “We’re only as good as the people we surround ourselves with.”
Thompson, who has moved up through the ranks in his law enforcement career, is a top-notch officer.
Some 13 years ago, he launched his career as a patrol officer and now heads the department’s gang unit enforcement.
“If people only knew the amount of time Fred puts in,” Faile said. “He also educates the youth, is involved with our crime watches, is involved with the school board. He’s always helping people, teaching them what to be on the lookout for and help.
“We couldn’t be where we are if not for Fred.”
Thompson, who noted teamwork is key in strong law enforcement, has guided the gang unit in cracking down on major gang activity in the county.
One operation last fall netted 15 suspected gang members who were rounded up and charged.
Thompson also played an integral part in the arrest of three men in the Jenika Jones murder investigation.
“This award was not based on one case,” Faile said. “It’s the work ethic of this individual and Fred has shown a wonderful work ethic. He has really made us proud.”
We salute Thompson and his fellow officers in their award-winning work to make our county safer.