Sheriff Ira Edwards, Jr. Biography
Sheriff Ira Edwards Jr. was born in Dublin, Georgia, to proud parents of Reverend and Mrs. Ira Edwards Sr. He is the seventh child of eight siblings and is a graduate of the University of Georgia, where he received his B.S. degree in Sociology with a focus in Criminal Studies. He received his Masters in Public Administration at Columbus State University and is a graduate of the National Sheriffs’ Institute where he was nominated class president. He is a graduate of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange in Tel Aviv, Israel, and recently graduated from the 239th Session FBI National Academy on December 11, 2009, in Quantico, Virginia. He is also a 2011 graduate of the of G.L.E.E.D.S.( Georgia Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar) and was recently selected to attend the F.B.I.N.A. L.E.E.D.S 71st Session in September 16, 2012. Sheriff Edwards is a member of the Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society and the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.
Sheriff Edwards is a 28-year law enforcement veteran, beginning his career with the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office in 1985 as a deputy sheriff working in the jail section.. He would later transfer to the City of Athens Police Department as a patrol officer, Probation Officer, D.A.R.E. Officer, Chaplain, and Youth Apprentice Coordinator. He served in this capacity until he was elected as the first African American Sheriff of Clarke County on July 18, 2000. He would also become the first African American to win a countywide election in the history of Clarke County. He is now serving his fourth term as Sheriff of Clarke County. One of Sheriff Edwards’ proudest accomplishments was when the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office became the recipient of the 2007 State of Georgia Law Enforcement Certification, becoming the 10th Sheriff’s Office in the State of Georgia to receive this prestigious award. This milestone was the first time in history for the Clarke County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Edwards and his team achieved C.A.L.E.A. Law Enforcement Recognition in November 2010, and recently was awarded C.A.L.E.A. Full Law Enforcement Accreditation on July 26,2012 becoming the 9th Sheriff Office out of 159 in the State of Georgia to receive this distinguish recognition.
Sheriff Edwards has served in many capacities as a community servant and leader. Some of these capacities include: Co-chair and host of the 2012 International D.A.R.E. Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, Co-hosted the 2007 and 2008 Community Event, “Evening of Inspiration and Hope”, featuring renowned speakers Dr. Ben Carson and Dr. Wintley Phipps; hosting the 2002 and 2006 State D.A.R.E Conferences; hosting the 12th annual Sheriff Edwards’ Charity Ride for youth; supporting the Clarke County School District Adopt a School Partnership; and acting as a motivational speaker for youth groups.
Sheriff Edwards has been honored to receive numerous community awards: The Kappa Alpha Psi Outstanding Community Service Award, the NAACP Freedom Fund Award, the Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes Past President Award, the Whiney M. Young Award, the M.L.K. UGA President Award, the 2010 Clarke County School District Award, and the 2010 Secretary of State Outstanding Georgia Citizen Award.
Sheriff Edwards has served on several committees on a local, state, and national level. Some of these committees include: 2012 appointee to serve on Board of Directors for the Athens Tutorial Program, Elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the National Sheriff’s Association in 2010, Appointed to the serve on the D.A.R.E. International Executive Law Enforcement Advisory Board in 2008, Co-chairman for the National Sheriffs’ Association Chaplain’s Committee, Board Member and Past President for the Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes, Member of the Peace Officers for Christ of Northeast Georgia, Board Member for the Domestic Task Force, and Executive Board Member for the Boy Scouts of Northeast Georgia.
Sheriff Edwards has been happily married to Teresa Pearson Edwards for 31 years and they have three children: Lamar, Brandon, and Jasmine. He is an active member at Timothy Baptist Church in Athens where he serves as an Elder.