His father was a sheriff, his mother was a school teacher and Tommy Pope was destined to continue their careers in public service. After graduating from Rock Hill High School, Tommy pursued a degree in Business Management at the University of South Carolina. As a freshman, Tommy began working at the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) as a “phone boy” — literally, the boy who answered the phones. Throughout his undergraduate years, in addition to his phone boy duties, Tommy ran the blood hounds, cut down marijuana fields and apprehended criminals. By the time he graduated from Carolina in 1984, he had “blue lights in his blood" and soon became a full time agent at SLED.