Onslow Co. Sheriff’s Office colonel announces run for top position, current Sheriff Hans Miller will not run for re-election


JACKSONVILLE, N.C. – The chief deputy of the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, Col. Chris Thomas, announced his candidacy to run for sheriff on Saturday. In addition, current Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller has announced he will not run for re-election, tossing his support to Thomas.

Thomas has been in law enforcement for 34 years and graduated from Coastal Carolina Community College in 1986. He is also an Army veteran.

“I support him,” Miller told WNCT’s Camila Barco on Saturday. I’ll not be running for re-election in 2022, but I will support and help Chris Thomas as he takes over leading our agency, from my leadership.”

Melinda Highers, Onslow County Republicans party chairman, confirmed Miller’s announcement at Saturday’s event.

“At the start of the convention, Sheriff Hans Miller was given the opportunity to make a public announcement when the elected officials were recognized. He stated he would not be seeking re-election and announced that his chief deputy, Colonel Chris Thomas would be running for the position and has his full endorsement and support,” Highers said. “Colonial Chris Thomas has been an active participant within the Onslow GOP, and the announcement was well received by the those in attendance.”

Thomas joined the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office as a major in 2014. According to his bio, Thomas supervises more than 30 deputies and supervises the Investigations Division of the sheriff’s office. He was promoted to colonel in 2019.

Thomas made the announcement on his campaign Facebook page on Saturday. Miller endorsed Thomas at the Onslow County Republican Party Convention, held Saturday in Jacksonville.

Miller became Onslow County Sheriff on Dec. 1, 2014. Before that, he served from January 1997 to May 2009 as a special agent for the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. He also served as chief of police for Albert J. Ellis Airport, retiring from that position in March of 2014.

Miller is also Marine, serving as a military police officer in the Marine Corps.

Thomas is an Onslow County native and currently lives in Richlands. You can follow his campaign and learn more about him on his Facebook page.

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