"Building Bridges Between the Community & Law Enforcement"
Tori, Kelley, Ricky Jr., Ricky & Shelby
Sheriff Ricky Chastain is a leader who builds bridges between Law
Enforcement and the community. He creates partnerships and alliances, and
is able to motivate with the forward momentum to “get things done”.
Sheriff Chastain has a genuine enthusiasm and a sincere heart for the citizens
of Laurens County.
After graduating from Faith Christian School of Laurens in 1986, Sheriff Chastain soon began working at Inman Mills Textile Plant in Enoree and then took a second job as owner and operator of a sawmill at the tender age of 19. He also had been raising cattle since he was old enough to drive a tractor. Sheriff Chastain's father worked in both textiles and was a sawyer in a local sawmill as well as raising beef cattle. It appeared that young Ricky Chastain was following in his father's footsteps for whom he had the deepest admiration. They were not wealthy but his father obtained everything they had honestly and by the sweat of his brow.
A life changing opportunity came for Sheriff Chastain on January 11, 1990 when he was offered a position with the Laurens County Sheriff's Office as a jailer at the age of 21 by Sheriff R. Eugene Johnson. The Sheriff went from making over $30,000 a year to $12,800 but he felt he could make a larger, positive impact on more people if he moved into the law enforcement field. Young Ricky Chastain's career accelerated over the next ten years to the point where he was elected in 2000 at the age of thirty-one to be the Laurens County Citizens' Sheriff.
Sheriff Chastain has been a leader throughout the state in equipping the men and women under his command with the best equipment and technological tools available to aid them in the performance of their duties. One example was his vision to provide body cameras to deputies for aiding in the prosecution of cases especially those of criminal domestic violence. This bold move prompted the SC Criminal Justice Academy to feature the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office in their statewide training program urging other law enforcement agencies to follow Sheriff Chastain’s lead.
Not only has Sheriff Chastain led the charge in equipment and technology but also in reducing crime and arresting criminals. The commitment Sheriff Chastain has to drug enforcement in Laurens County has helped the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office lead the state in the number of meth labs being located and dismantled.
Sheriff Chastain has also been innovative in his attempts to keep the public informed and aware of what their sheriff’s office is doing. The Sheriff was one of the first to utilize social media in law enforcement in South Carolina. Sheriff Chastain now maintains a Laurens County Sheriff Facebook Page, a Twitter Connection as well as utilizing NIXLE to get information to the public fast and when needed. Sheriff Chastain also provided a link for the public to locate inmates currently incarcerated at the County Jail. The Sheriff was also one of the first in the state to utilize Offender Watch. Offender Watch allows citizens to receive information on sexual offenders in their neighborhood as well as receive emails when an offender moves into their community. Through the utilization of this program by Sheriff Chastain and others, Offender Watch is now a statewide resource.
Sheriff Chastain's commitment and service to the citizens of Laurens County also won him the prestigious Outstanding Service Award from the SC Association of Countywide Elected Executives at their Annual Spring Academy in 2012.
Sheriff Ricky Chastain is married to Kelley Clark Chastain formerly of Woodruff, SC. She is a career educator with Laurens School District 55. They had a "Christmas Wedding" in 1990 at Broad Street United Methodist Church in Clinton, SC. The couple has three children. Their oldest, Shelby, is a graduate student at USC pursuing her PhD in Biomedical Engineering. Their second born, Tori, is a Senior at Laurens District 55 High School. Their only son, Ricky Jr., is a 3rd grader at E.B. Morse Elementary in Laurens. Sheriff Chastain and his family reside in the rural community of Cold Point.