Sheriff Ira Edwards, Jr. was born in Dublin, Georgia to the proud parents of the 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 Sheriff s’ Institute where he was nominated class president. He is a graduate of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange in Tel-Aviv, Israel, and also an Executive Certified Instructor for the National Sheriffs’ Association Homeland Security. Sheriff Edwards is a member of the Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society and the Grand Boule Delta Chapter Sigma Pi Phi.
Sheriff Edwards is a 23-year law enforcement veteran, beginning his career with the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office in 1985. He would later transfer to the City of Athens Police Department where he served until he was elected as the first African American Sheriff of Clarke County. He also became the first African American to win a county- wide election in Clarke County. He is now serving his third 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 Sheriffs’ Office.
Sheriff Edwards has served in many capacities as a community servant and leader. Some of these capacities include: Co-hosted 2007 & 2008 Community Event, “Evening of Inspiration & Hope”, featuring renown speakers, Dr. Ben Carson and Dr. Wintley Phipps; Hosted 2002 & 2006 State D.A.R.E. Conference; Host annual Sheriff Edwards’ Charity Ride for youth; Clarke County School District Adopt a School Partnership; Boy’s Book Club Partnership with UGA Basketball Team and Fowler Drive Elementary School; and motivational speaker for youth groups.
Sheriff Edwards has served on several committees on a local, state, and national level. Some of these committees include: 2008 Appointee to the D.A.R.E. International Executive Law Enforcement Advisory Board, Chairman for the National Sheriffs’ Association Chaplain’s Committee, Board Member and Past President for the Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes, President for Peace Officers for Christ of N.E. Georgia, Board Member for the Domestic Task Force, and Executive Board Member for the Boy Scouts of N.E. Georgia.
Sheriff Edwards is happily married to Teresa Pearson Edwards of 25 years and have three children: Lamar, Brandon, and Jasmine. He is also an ordained Elder at Timothy Baptist Church here in Athens.