Chris Thomas for Onslow County Sheriff

Meet Chris

Born to Wilbur and Joy Thomas, Chris Thomas is a resident of Richlands, NC, and was born in Jacksonville. Chris has been married to his wife, Katie, for 25 years. After graduating high school in 1983, Chris joined the United States Army. He served his country with distinction. He was honorably discharged in 1986. Chris began his law enforcement career after graduating from the Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy at Coastal Carolina Community College in 1986. He began his service working with the Pender County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy sheriff in the jail. Chris spent sixteen years with the Pender County Sheriff’s Office, obtaining the rank of Captain and Chief Deputy of the Pender County Sheriff’s Office. After leaving the Pender County Sheriff’s Office, he served as a deputy sheriff and operations deputy with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office for nearly two years.

After serving as a deputy sheriff, Chris accepted a position as a special agent with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. As a special agent, Chris specialized in drug enforcement, apprehending suspected drug traffickers and gaining convictions in over 1,000 drug investigations throughout his law enforcement career. Chris gained training and experience as a corruption investigator and assisted and led investigations into government misconduct cases and officer-involved shootings. While working as a special agent, Chris received the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force Case of the Year Award and retired as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) of the Coastal District. As ASAC, Chris was responsible for supervising special agents assigned to the Coastal District, which encompasses 10 counties, including Onslow. He retired from the NC SBI in 2013 and received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for over 30 years of service to the State of North Carolina. After retiring from the SBI, Chris knew that he was not finished serving his community. He joined the Jacksonville Police Department and served as a Special Operations detective, conducting drug investigations for the citizens of Jacksonville.

Sheriff Miller asked Chris to join the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office in 2014 with the rank of Major. Chris was tasked with the supervision of the Investigations Division of the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office. He supervised over 30 deputy sheriffs and led the division through such high-profile cases as the Mariah Woods murder investigation and the Karen Johnson cold case. Under his leadership, the Sheriff’s Office joined the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, established the agency’s first Special Victim’s Unit, expanded the Drug Enforcement Unit, and secured working task force positions with both the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Chris was promoted to Colonel in 2019 and took over as Chief Deputy of the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office. He serves as second-in-command of the largest law enforcement agency in the county. As Colonel, Chris is responsible for over 250 employees, including over 150 deputy sheriffs, 100 detention officers, and 20 citizen employees. Chris serves as a direct extension of the Sheriff of Onslow County and is the acting Sheriff in his absence. Chris has led the agency with honor and dedicated service, helping grow the patrol division from 28 deputies to over 40. He helped establish the agency’s first Driving While Impaired Task Force, drone team, and boat team. Chris has led the agency’s COVID pandemic response. Chris has secured a contract with the United States Department of Justice to house federal inmates, which will bring in over $1.3 million in revenue to the county once fully implemented.

Chris Thomas has over 5,000 hours in law enforcement training. He possesses an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice and a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Organization from Mount Olive College. Chris is a law enforcement general instructor and specialized firearms instructor. He is also a graduate of the 192nd Session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy.

In his spare time, Chris enjoys outdoor sports, including hunting and fishing. He is an avid shooting enthusiast and a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment. Chris loves spending time with family, and he never misses a chance to go riding on one of his two Harley-Davidson motorcycles.