Sheriff Phillip E. Thompson is a 40-year veteran of law enforcement and gained his experience with both the Myrtle Beach and Horry County Police Departments before being elected Sheriff of Horry County in January of 2001.
Since his election, Sheriff Thompson has been an advocate for the Sheriffs' Association and works tirelessly to promote the Association in a positive light across the state and to mentor new Sheriffs.
In 2017, Sheriff Thompson was named South Carolina Sheriff's Association Sheriff of the Year. In addition, Sheriff Thompson was awarded the Strom Thurmond Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement. This award is given to the individual in South Carolina whose performance best exemplifies the highest ideals of excellence in professional law enforcement.
Sheriff Thompson also received the 2016 South Strand Republican Club "Terry Cooper Award" for his outstanding contributions to the citizens of Horry County.
Sheriff Thompson's commitment to assisting others led to the creation of the only in-house drug treatment program for inmates in South Carolina, which is a model for incarceration treatment programs in the Southeast. The program is a therapeutic community program that addresses addiction and criminogenic thinking processes over an intensive three phase program that lasts up to two years in the detention center and two more years in halfway houses. The program is highly successful and touts an average 70% success rate. The success of the program prompted the South Carolina Department of Corrections Youthful Offenders Intensive Supervision Services to partner with the Horry County Sheriff’s Office as a reentry program for youth offenders.
As a result of the three year partnership, Sheriff Thompson was awarded the Young Offender Parole and Reentry Services Judge Bill Byars Community Partner Award in Law Enforcement by Governor Nikki Haley in May of 2016.