Albert Bernard Thomas Jr. is a new officer with the Manning Police Department.
Thomas is the son of Pastor Albert Thomas Sr. and Minister Lucille Thomas. He has one older brother, Curtis Thomas, who is a state trooper with the South Carolina Highway Patrol in Orangeburg.
Thomas is a 2002 graduate of Manning High School and a 2008 graduate of Voorhees College in Denmark, S.C., with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He also holds an M.B.A. in management from Claflin University, which he received in 2010.
Thomas said that he’s always wanted to be a police officer.
“It was a dream I had since childhood,” he said.
After receiving his M.B.A., he took the test to become an officer with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, however, he said that he missed passing the physical part by five seconds.
The economy had just started to recover, and many of the business jobs that he applied to required real-world experience. It was difficult, he said, even with an M.B.A., to get into the corporate world.
“I didn’t give up, however,” he said.
Thomas said that one of his passions has always been to help and mentor children, and he was ready to give back to the community. He received that opportunity in August 2011, when he was chosen to serve as one of the six teacher fellows at Scott’s Branch Middle-High School, through a grant that the school received.
“It was an honor to have been selected as one of the teacher fellows,” Thomas said.
Thomas served in that position for one year. He worked under the supervision of teacher Alfreda Cooper, with ninth, tenth and eleventh graders and also in the middle school grades. He had an opportunity to shadow various teachers and learn different teaching techniques.
“I received much knowledge about young people and teaching as a whole, and am thankful to Superintendent Dr. Rose Wilder and the Scott’s Branch administration, faculty and staff for giving me the opportunity to gain invaluable experience at the school,” he said.
In September 2012, he joined the Manning Police Department.
“It was a dream come true for me,” he said.
Thomas’ older brother, Curtis, had become a member of the South Carolina Highway Patrol seven years earlier.
“Being around him, I saw how strong-minded he was, how he carried himself, and the compliments that he received,” he said. “My brother is my biggest role model.”
Thomas said he has always been inspired by his parents, who taught him respect, Christian values and kept him in the church.
“I want to thank my parents for molding me into a real man,” he said. “From a young age they instilled positive qualities in me.”
Thomas said that he would also like to thank MPD Chief Blair Shaffer for giving him the opportunity to follow his dream job and encouraging him throughout the process as well as Manning Fire Department Captain/MPD Officer James Pringle, who recommended him for the job.
Thomas graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in Columbia this summer, and was sworn in as a new officer at the Manning City Council meeting in July.
He said that what he enjoys about his job is having the opportunity to serve the community.
“It’s all about keeping the community safe,” he said. “We’re here to lookout for our citizens, our businesses and our citizens’ property.”
Thomas said that in the future he would like to work with youth within the community.
“Our children need more role models who will open up and mentor to them,” he said.
Thomas is married to Akeia (Witherspoon) Thomas, and they have two children, Jenieghla Witherspoon and Kaleb Bernard Thomas.