City + Citizen News

Alonzo Thompson hired to lead City Police Department

Thursday, December 5

Longtime leader in Winston-Salem, N.C., to be sworn in on Jan. 23

Alonzo Thompson, currently the Assistant Chief for the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Police Department, has been named the new Chief of the Spartanburg Police Department. Thompson was hired after a nearly five-month search. Thompson will be sworn in at a City Hall ceremony on Jan. 23, and he is expected to assume full duties by Feb. 1.


“I am very excited about joining the team in Spartanburg,” Thompson said. “As I went through this process and learned more about Spartanburg, what really impressed me the most was the level of cooperation between the City’s corporate and non-profit partners and the community at large. I greatly appreciate that, because that level of teamwork and unity of vision is essential for communities striving to do great things. You can see the signs of a social and cultural renaissance in Spartanburg, and I am excited about contributing to that and about having the opportunity to use my energy, experience and willingness to engage to help raise the level of both the Police Department and the City.”


Thompson has nearly 30 years of police experience and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also successfully completed the Public Executive Leadership Academy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Government. Thompson is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, where he was elected president of his class, and the Criminal Justice Education Training and Standards Commission awarded Thompson the State of North Carolina’s Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate in 1991. 


Thompson first joined the Winston-Salem Police Department in 1984. He was promoted to the ranks of Senior Police Officer in 1988, Sergeant in 1989, Lieutenant in 1995, Captain in 2002 and Assistant Chief in 2012. Thompson has served in the Field Services, Investigative Services and Support Services Bureaus and Office of the Chief of Police. He has served in numerous capacities during his career in Winston-Salem, including the following assignments: Basic Law Enforcement Training Sergeant/Coordinator, Recruiting, Training and Planning Lieutenant, Field Commander, Police Chief’s Staff Liaison Officer, Vice and Narcotics Division Commander, Professionals Standards Division Commander and most recently District Commander in the Patrol Division.


Prior to his law enforcement career, Thompson served in the U.S. Air Force. He was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in 1982 and resigned his commission as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force Reserves in 1988. 


Thompson’s starting annual salary will be $105,000.  As a condition of his employment, Thompson will establish primary residency within the City limits.


Thompson replaces Tony Fisher, who retired in August. The City hired an outside consultant with extensive experience in assisting municipalities with the law enforcement management hiring process, and the City received 70 initial applications for the position. From that group, in addition to Thompson, two other finalists were identified: James “Chip” McCarthy, Chief of the Fairburn (Ga.) Police, and Lorenzo Sheppard, Assistant Chief of the Newport News (Va.) Police. Subsequent to being notified he was a finalist for the position, Sheppard asked to be removed from consideration. 


“I am very encouraged that Chief Thompson has accepted this position,” City Manager Ed Memmott said. “He was the top candidate emerging from a very rigorous assessment process and was my top choice for the position. He is a highly motivated, community-minded leader who very much wanted to be our police chief and join our collective endeavors to grow and improve Spartanburg.”    


Thompson and his wife, Catrina, have two children, Alyson Blakely, 11, and Christopher Aaron, 9.