John Q Williams

Sheriff John Q Williams

Sheriff of Athens-Clarke County

2021 – present

John Q William’s website

Signature Issues

Raising Deputy Pay — Williams has been a strong advocate for raising the pay of deputies to help improve morale and equalize pay with that of police officers.

Mental Healthcare for Inmates — When Armor Healthcare failed to provide adequate care at the ACC Jail, Williams switched providers and was able to greatly improve both physical and mental healthcare for inmates. Mental healthcare resources in particular were expanded three to five fold in the new contract.

Community Outreach — The ACC Sheriff’s Office has greatly expanded outreach to the community since Williams took over. They hold a yearly back-to-school haircut and braiding event, organize mobile food pantries and host a Fall Festival and haunted house in an unused area of the jail.

2020 Campaign Promises

Transparency — Williams promised “unprecedented transparency” for the Sheriff’s Office in his speech at his 2020 campaign kickoff.

Reform of the Sheriff’s Office — Williams 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. This plan included:

  • 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 criticized his 2020 opponent for illegally holding Athens residents for deportation at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, saying it tears families apart. Furthermore, he writes (in Classic City News) 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 ICE detainers, Williams said it made his former job as a detective with ACCPD more difficult, specifically when handling domestic violence cases.

Interviews and Media

APN interviewed Williams on March 28, 2024:

Williams went on Tim Bryant’s WGAU radio show during his 2024 campaign in March:

Williams held his 2024 campaign kickoff at the Winterville Cultural Center in January:


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%