A veteran law enforcement officer with more than 30 years of experience, Sheriff Butch Conway has served in nearly every capacity of law enforcement. Sheriff Conway began his career in 1973 as an officer with the Gwinnett County Police Department, where he served for eleven years. He rose to the rank of lieutenant and was in charge of the Vice, Intelligence and Narcotics Units before leaving the department to run an office supply business he started in 1981. During his career, he also served as a magistrate judge for seven years and was the Chief of Police of Lawrenceville for six years. Sheriff Conway was elected sheriff in 1996 and is currently serving in his fifth term of office. Under his leadership, the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office became one of the first agencies in Georgia to place the Sex Offender Registry on the Internet and was the first sheriff’s office in Georgia to become a state certified law enforcement agency.
Since being elected, Sheriff Conway has seen the sheriff’s office grow from a staff of 320 to over 700. He reinstated the Fugitive Unit to Field Operations in 1997 to apprehend the most dangerous and elusive criminals. In 2009, he established the 287(g) federal immigration program, which allows specially trained deputies, under the supervision of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to identify and place detainers on illegal immigrants arrested in Gwinnett County, leading to a substantial reduction in the jail population.
Other projects include an expansion of the county jail approved by voters in 2002 and the start of Operation Second Chance – a program that rescues dogs from the euthanasia line at Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement Center and places them with inmates for volunteer led obedience training in preparation for adoption to the general public. The program is at no cost to taxpayers with the majority of the cost funded by the Society of Humane Friends of Georgia. Since its inception in 2010, Operation Second Chance has rescued hundreds of dogs. In 2013, the program added cats to the rescue effort.
In 2011, Sheriff Conway partnered with the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta to form the Gwinnett Reentry Intervention Program (GRIP). This program strives to reduce jail recidivism by pairing individuals exiting incarceration with community resources to assist them in becoming self-sufficient. The program provides them access to resources such as shelter, drug treatment, job skills training, mental health treatment, employment and permanent housing.
Though his dedication to law enforcement is evident, what is often not so 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 and the Georgia Sheriff’s Association Legislative Committee. He has served on the Lawrenceville City Council, the Gwinnett County Merit Board, chaired and served on the Gwinnett County Airport Authority, served on 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 and a graduate of Leadership Gwinnett. Growing up in Decatur, Butch benefitted from being a Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Explorer Scout and credits those programs with giving him a foundation for service. He continues to support these organizations to this day.
Also in 2011, Sheriff Conway formed a Gwinnett chapter of Beat the Heat, Inc. to build awareness of the dangers of illegal street racing, drunk driving and drug abuse while creating a partnership between law enforcement and the community.
Butch has two beautiful daughters, Jennifer Conway Clay and Regina Conway Cann, four adorable grandsons, a lovely granddaughter and, in his words, “two great sons-in-law.”