Chrissie Cofield embodies many — if not all — of the characteristics we look for in an Upstate Black History Maker, including perseverance, faith, action, leadership, and dedication to the betterment of herself and those around her. But it was her seemingly incessant work towards her goals, and her determination to lead by example that caused us to believe she was quite worthy of the honor of this distinction.
Please enjoy her story, told in her own words:
As a young girl growing up in a single parent home, I never imagined I would be a “history maker”. At the age of 19, I was your average statistic. Young black female, who grew up in a single parent household, who was now a single parent. By all accounts I was NOT supposed to “make it”. After some self-reflection, I realized I deserved better, my child deserved better, my mother who worked three jobs at different points absolutely deserved better. So I leaned on my God and asked him to lead me. I stepped out on faith and became a police officer.
As my career began, I became pregnant with my second child. But I kept going! I could not stop! I worked just a little bit harder because I did not want to fail.
Shortly after my son was born, I was diagnosed with Lupus. This was the turning point in my career. I knew — because of this disease — I could not continue to jump in and out of patrol cars, however, I did not want to leave the profession I loved or the community that entrusted me with their lives. I knew the only way I could advance beyond a road lieutenant was to earn a college degree. So I went to college. It was very difficult, however I had a great support system: my fiancé, Donald Latimore had my back.
After earning a Masters Degree, I was promoted to Assistant Chief. I served in this capacity until I was recently appointed Chief of Police of the great community of Laurens.
I have been very fortunate to have had some great leaders in my life. Individuals who saw something in me and pushed me towards greatness. They taught me that true leadership is leading your people to achieve their goals. It is my pledge to do the same for those working, living and worshiping alongside me.
I am a true believer that when it is God’s plan, no one or nothing can stop you! You will face many obstacles along your journey, just remember they are there for a reason: to teach you something. Don’t get so caught up in the wrong or negative, just spend more time praying and asking God for guidance so he can lead you to the right. Take a moment to smell the proverbial flowers. Smile and enjoy the ride. But do not forget as you climb the ladder to success, your job is not only to succeed, but to help others succeed as well. When they succeed you are “winning” two-fold.
Chrissie Cofield is the Chief of Police for Laurens Police Department in Laurens, SC. She is the first African-American female Chief in the county, and even the first female Chief in the county! Chief Cofield has been in law enforcement for 19 years. She served one year with SLED, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, in the Piedmont Region, and 18 years with Laurens Police Department. Chief Cofield grew up in Clinton, South Carolina, and graduated from Clinton High School in 1996, after which she joined the Unites States Army. She spent 4 years on active duty and in the reserves. After becoming a police officer in 1999, she attended Piedmont Technical College and earned an Associate Degree in Public Service. She then transferred to Lander University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Service. She earned a Masters of Criminal Justice from Anderson University’s Command College. She is a member of the South Carolina Police Chiefs Association, South Carolina Police Officers Association, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement, National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, The Riley Institute of Diversity Leadership (Riley Fellow). She successfully completed the Carolina Command College, sponsored by the FBI. She attends Faith Community Church in Clinton, SC, with her family.
Please join us in congratulating this 2019 Upstate Black History Maker!