Former school resource officer Matt Emery is running for Greenwood County sheriff.

Joining a growing field of people who have announced their intentions to run prior to the March 16 opening of filing, Emery said he resigned from the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday in order to run.

“The biggest thing leading me to run is all this violence and the shootings we’ve had,” he said. “We need to have better relationships with the other agencies in Greenwood.”

He said the key to stopping violence is cooperation among agencies, and that he can bring everyone to the table to spark a unified effort against violence.

Emery, along with his wife Melissa, became household names throughout much of Greenwood when they campaigned to change state law following the death of their infant son, Dylan. Dylan had Krabbe disease, a genetic disorder that compromises the protective coating of nerve cells.

Matt and Melissa campaigned tirelessly following Dylan’s passing to get legislators to pass a bill adding Krabbe disease, Pompe disease and Hurler syndrome to the list of diseases newborns are screened for in South Carolina. On May 16, Gov. Henry McMaster officially signed “Dylan’s Law,” putting it into effect.

Emery, whose GCSO career began in 2005, will be running against incumbent Sheriff Dennis Kelly and three other former sheriff’s office figures. John Long and Chad Cox, both former lieutenants, confirmed they were running for office, and former sheriff Tony Davis said Dec. 3 he was considering a bid for his old job.

Meanwhile, across the lake in Laurens County, several names have cropped up on the state Ethics Commission’s website for possible contenders to Sheriff Don Reynolds’ reelection bid.

Former four-term Laurens County sheriff Ricky Chastain’s name was among the people listed on the ethics commission’s website when searching for the county’s 2020 sheriff race. Chastain lost his bid for reelection to Reynolds, amid allegations Chastain had shared thousands of text messages — some sexually explicit — with a woman who was not his wife.

The phone number listed on Chastain’s earlier election filings no longer worked, and two messages left at a phone number listed for him online were not returned.

Next up on the ethics commission’s listings was Jarvis Reeder, former chief deputy at the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office. Reeder filed campaign disclosure documents on Jan. 29, and a call to the phone number listed there was not returned.

Reeder left an 18-year career at the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office to take the chief deputy’s position under Reynolds in 2016. On July 20, 2018, Reynolds terminated Reeder, and since has not had a chief deputy position staffed. Reynolds said the termination was over a disagreement over Reeder’s job performance.

Besides Reynolds, who confirmed he is running for reelection, the last name that comes up on the ethics commission’s website is Luther T. Richardson’s. Although the website lists no campaign disclosures filed for Richardson, the former sheriff’s office captain that served in Chastain’s administration shows up when searching for records related to the 2020 sheriff race.

No phone number was listed for Richardson.

Contact staff writer Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548 or follow on Twitter @IJDDOMINGUEZ.