Gaston town council names Stephen Watkins Chief of Police
Gaston, SC (Paul Kirby) –Tuesday night, the Gaston town council promoted Major Stephen Watkins to the position of police chief of their town’s department. Watkins has been with the Gaston Police Department over seven years.
Watkins started his public service career as a firefighter with the city of West Columbia Fire Department under Chief Barry Anderson. Later, he moved from West Columbia to the Cayce Department of Public Safety. At Cayce, he was able to continue honing his firefighting skills while developing a love for law enforcement.
Later in his career, Watkins transferred to the Springdale Police Department. Interestingly enough, his wife Ashley now serves as the town administrator of that Lexington County municipality that sits adjacent to the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. After working at Springdale for a period Watkins moved to the Gaston Police Department as a patrolman. He advanced through the ranks later serving as sergeant and most recently major before being promoted to chief last night.
Watkins is known as an officer who aggressively enforces the law. He has also been known to show compassion when warranted offering to work with offenders that chose to be honest with him about their offenses. Other law enforcement professionals have said he has a sixth sense when it comes to the enforcement of the law, especially regarding narcotics and stolen vehicles. He was an effective part of former Chief Shawn Mohundro’s team and together with the other sworn officers of the Gaston Police Department, they have made a big dent in the area’s criminal activity.
Chief Watkins has already had experience as an administrator while at Gaston. While serving as a major, he performed the chief’s duties for an extended period while Mohundro was on active duty with the National Guard.
His promotion took effect immediately and he sworn in as chief on the night of Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020.