Butch Conway was elected in 1996 and has served as Sheriff of Gwinnett County since he took office in January of 1997. A veteran law enforcement officer with more than 30 years experience, Sheriff Conway has served in almost every capacity of police work.
Since being elected Sheriff, he has watched his department grow from 320 to 707 employees. During his four terms of office, Sheriff Conway has implemented many changes and added new programs. His most recent efforts have been involved with bringing the 287(g) program, a program designed to allow deputies to identify and place ICE detainers on illegal immigrants, to the jail and adding an inmate/dog program. In February 2010, Operation Second Chance began with five dogs placed with 10 inmates. The dog program pulls dogs from the euthanasia line at Gwinnett Animal Control and places them with inmates to be trained to be placed for adoption.
Sheriff Conway also has been vigilant in going after people involved in dogfighting – at one point offering $10,000 of his personal funds as reward money, and is a staunch supporter of charities involved in the rescue of animals. Under his reign, the department has seen a $75 million jail expansion, the reinstatement of the fugitive unit to catch the most dangerous and elusive criminals, added a jail tactical team to handle uprisings in the jail and a SWAT team to help serve high risk warrants.
The sheriff”s resume in law enforcement began in 1973 as an officer with the Gwinnett Police Department, where he served for 11 years rising to the rank of lieutenant in charge of the Vice, Intelligence and Narcotics Unit. In 1981, he ran an office supply business and eventually left the police department to run that business full-time. But the call of law enforcement ran deep and he eventually returned to the career of his youth by taking the job of Lawrenceville Police Chief, where he remained for six years before being elected sheriff. During his career, he also served as a magistrate judge for seven years.
Though his dedication to law enforcement is evident, what is often not as obvious is his dedication to the community. He currently serves on the Executive Board of Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, the Board of Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership, the Anti Graffiti Coalition for Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful and the Georgia Sheriff’s Association Legislative Committee.
He has served on the Lawrenceville City Council, the Gwinnett County Merit Board, the Gwinnett County Airport Authority, the Lawrenceville Housing Authority and he has chaired the Drug Free Workplace Committee of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. He was also a founding director of the Girls Club of Gwinnett.
While his involvement in the community is lengthy, it is his dedication to charities that particularly stands out.
In 2007, he rode a motorcycle from Alaska to Key West as his way of raising money for Special Olympics athletes. He and his staff have worked hard for these athletes since 2001. Because of these efforts, the Gwinnett Sheriff”s Department has remained the top fundraising agency for the state of Georgia for five years for this particular charity.
Sheriff Conway also made sure the department remained heavily involved in raising money for Relay for Life and the department continues to maintain a large presence at that event each year. But, the causes that stir him most passionately involve animals. He gives most of the credit to his wife, Judge Carla Brown. Between the two of them, they have rescued too many animals to count. Currently, they live on their horse farm with more than 20 dogs they have rescued. Some have taken up permanent residence at their home, but others they are continually trying to place with loving families. Through his rescue efforts, the sheriff became heavily involved with the Society of Humane Friends as well as the Spay Neuter Act Coalition of Georgia and other animal groups in the area.
The sheriff and his wife reside in the Harbins community where they own and operate a horse farm focused on the breeding and showing of reining horses. He also has two daughters, and three grandsons.