The Command Staff is responsible for the day to day operations of each division within the Sheriff’s Office making sure that each Division Commander has the necessary resources and tools required to effectively operate that division. They work closely with the Sheriff and Chief Deputy on all matters concerning the the safety and well being of the citizens within Brunswick County as well making sure the staff of the Brunswick County Sheriff have the training, mindset, skills and equipment to effectively carry out their duties.
Major Laurie Watson
In 2000, Major Watson began her career with New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office as a sworn Deputy Sheriff. In September 2001, she was hired by The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office as a full-time Patrol Deputy. In December 2002, she was promoted to the rank of Detective assigned to the Sex Crimes Unit. Major Watson remained in the Detective Division until October 2008 when she was promoted to Corporal in Uniform Patrol Division. While serving in the Uniform Patrol Division between 2008 and 2012, she was promoted through the ranks up to Captain. In 2012, she was assigned as the Captain over Uniform Patrol and the Criminal Investigative Unit. In 2015, she was assigned as the Captain over the Criminal Investigative Unit and Vice/Narcotics Unit.
In April 2016, Sheriff Ingram promoted her to the rank of Major, where she shares duties with Majors Tommy Tolley Brian Chism and Stephen Lanier with the day to day operations and budgeting of each division within the Sheriff’s Office.
- Serving Since:2000
Major Tommy Tolley
Major Brian Chism
In September of 2004, Major Chism started his Law Enforcement career with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. Growing up on Oak Island, he always felt the need to give back to this great community. After only seven months with the agency, and expressing a desire to work with canines, he was afforded that opportunity in May of 2005. Working with canines quickly became a passion. Major Chism worked on Patrol with his canine and obtained the rank of Corporal in 2008. Also in 2008, Sheriff J. Ingram formed a new unit, the Special Operations unit. He was fortunate enough to be assigned to the unit, along with his canine partner, in an effort to combat the drug issues in the county. In 2013, while working in the Special Operations Unit, Major Chism was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. This began his journey in leadership which pushed him to learn more about the training aspect of working with canines.
After working several years in the specialized unit, in 2014, he accepted a promotion to First Sergeant which brought him back to where he started, Patrol Division. Major Chism was able to continue as a canine handler and trainer along with his added duties of overseeing a Patrol shift. After working three patrol canines and training many others, he was promoted to Lieutenant of the Patrol division. While still overseeing the training of canines, as difficult as it was, he knew his time as a handler was coming to an end and that he had to find his replacement. In 2016, he was promoted to Captain of Uniform Services. This allowed him to enhance his knowledge of other divisions. In October 2018, Major Chism attended the 274th session of the FBI National Academy and graduated in December 2018. After what seemed like a fast four years, in January of 2020, Sheriff Ingram promoted him Major of Uniform Services. While the Majors all have their respective divisions to oversee, like the Sheriff’s Office as a whole, we are a team and work together.
Major Steve Lanier
In 1999, Stephen Lanier began his law enforcement career with the Shallotte Police Department, serving as an auxiliary patrol officer. On August 22nd 2000, Lanier was sworn in as a full-time patrol deputy with the Sheriff’s Office. Early in his career, Lanier found a passion for drug investigations and was soon promoted to Drug Agent in early 2001. Major Lanier worked as a Drug Agent for five years until being promoted to the rank of Sergeant within the Vice and Narcotics Unit. During that time, Lanier spent nearly three years with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, stationed in Wilmington, NC. After serving as a Task Force Officer, Lanier was promoted to Lieutenant of the Vice and Narcotics Unit and soon after rose to the level of Captain within the Investigations Division with responsibilities covering General Investigations and Narcotics. In February of 2020, Sheriff Ingram promoted Lanier to the level of Major where he is currently assigned to the Investigations Division and Animal Protective Services.
Throughout his career, Major Lanier has looked to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Brunswick County through narcotics enforcement. Major Lanier helped start several entities to fight the Opioid Crisis sweeping across our community, to include the creation of the Joint Heroin Initiative Task Force. This task force broke jurisdictional and departmental barriers while targeting the top suppliers of opiates to our region. The success of this initiative led to the Federal adoption of the program.
Major Lanier also assisted in creating the Sheriff’s Office Anchor Initiative Program. The Anchor Initiative is the Sheriff’s Office’s response to help curve the negative trend of overdose deaths in our community. Through this program, we have provided immediate response with transportation, information, funding and connecting individual addicts with the resources they need. The initiative is operated solely through fundraising and donations and has successfully assisted over 200 addicts since its inception.
Throughout his career, Major Lanier has received numerous honors and awards, both on the local and national level. Through the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, Major Lanier has earned Master Deputy Status, received several commendations, been awarded for Meritorious and Humanitarian Services and earned the Sheriff’s Office Purple Heart for injuries sustained during an officer-involved shooting in 2001. Major Lanier has also been awarded the National Sheriffs’ Association Medal of Valor and Purple Heart from the same incident. Additionally, Major Lanier received awards and recognition from North Carolina Governor Mike Easley, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, and a Congressional Certificate of Recognition from Congressman Mike McIntyre. Major Lanier received Local and Regional Honors and was named the Law Enforcement Officer of the year in 2018 by the American Legion. Major Lanier is also a graduate of the United States Department of Homeland Security Leadership Academy.