From firefighter to crime fighter

Last updated: August 01. 2013 4:09PM - 10357 Views
By Joe Toppe



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PICKENS COUNTY – Master Deputy Tom Williamson of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office became interested in law enforcement while working security as an off duty firefighter.


“Back in 1980, I was a firefighter and working part time as a security officer,” Williamson said. “I started talking to county police officers and I got interested in law enforcement. I took the test, passed it, and joined the Charleston County Police Department in March of 1980.”


Williamson is a lifelong resident of South Carolina and has been in Pickens County for nearly 25 years.


“I met my wife while working in Charleston and she is from Easley,” Williamson said. “She loved this area so we moved here up here in 1989 and I really love it. The people are really nice and I will end my career here.”


Williamson graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in 1981 and earned an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice in 1993 from Tri-County Technical College.


“I graduated from the academy in 1981 and by 1988, I decided to earn my associate’s degree in criminal justice,” Williamson said. “I started while I was working for Charleston County and when I moved to Pickens County in 1989 I continued with Tri-County Tech. It took me five years, but I finally got it in 1993.”


Williamson said the degree has helped him further his career.


“At the time I got it, we were given bonuses for getting your degree,” he said. “It was very beneficial to me and it also helped me climb all the way through the ranks to lieutenant which I held for 13 years.”


Williamson’s career for the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office began in August of 1989.


“I started my career here in 1989, and in 1992, we were given a traffic grant which I was in charge of because of my previous experience,” Williamson said. “We had a four man team and at the end of 1992, I was promoted to sergeant over the traffic division where I remained for about six years until I was promoted to lieutenant.”


Williamson spent 13 years as lieutenant before taking a voluntary reassignment in the office of professional standards.


“After 13 years as a uniformed patrol lieutenant, I decided to take a voluntary reassignment,” Williamson said. “They put me in the professional standards division and my job now is to register sex offenders and make sure they are where they are supposed to be. Currently, we have 256 in the county and all but eight are accounted for, so I think we are doing very well with that.”


According to Williamson, he is happy with his current position and plans on remaining there until retirement.


“I really enjoy my new position,” Williamson said. “I now have weekends off and no more night shifts. My wife is very excited and I plan on staying at this position until I retire.”


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