John Q Williams

Sheriff John Q Williams

Sheriff of Athens-Clarke County

2021 – present

Signature Issues

Transparency — Williams promised “unprecedented transparency” for the Sheriff’s Office in his speech at his campaign kickoff.

Reform of the Sheriff’s Office — Williams has detailed his plan for reform of the Sheriff’s Office (which has been struggling with deputy morale for years) in an op-ed in Classic City News. It includes:

  • Ending the policy of requiring doctor’s notes for all sick leave.
  • Rotating duties more evenly instead of reserving the best assignments for senior personnel.
  • Convening a review board with deputies and employees of all levels.
  • Implementing a new training program similar to the one he implemented at the Police Department.

Criminal Justice Reform — Williams supports the end of cash bail in Athens and has promised not to accept money from bail bondsmen.

A Safe Community for All — Williams has criticized his opponent for illegally holding Athens residents for deportation at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, saying it tears familes apart. Furthermore, he reasons (in the Classic City Op-Ed) that our community is less safe if undocumented residents feel they can’t call the police without risking deportation. As a final reason why he opposes the policy, John noted that he is a detective with ACCPD who handles domestic violence cases, and he feels it has made his job more difficult.


Before being elected Sheriff, Williams was a detective with the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, leading investigations related to domestic violence and missing person cases. He has also worked for the UGA Police Department as a 911 operator.

He was ACCPD’s employee of the year from 2010-2011.

Election Results

2020 General Election
John Q Williams (D) – 69.9%
Robert Hare (R) – 30.1%

2020 Democratic Primary
John Q Williams – 51.1%
Ira Edwards – 49.0%