Keeping over 900,000 Gwinnettians safe within almost 437 square miles is no small matter… and it takes no small number of public safety personnel to do it.
Firefighting and emergency medical response in Gwinnett is generally handled by the Gwinnett County Fire & Emergency Services Department, which is the largest fire service district in Georgia. The department operates 31 fire stations and 29 life-support medical units throughout the county, and employs 916 people who respond to over 78,000 calls each year.
Firefighting and medical help aren’t all the department does, of course. The department oversees outdoor burning, issues permits and certificates of occupancy, leads community education, and investigates fires. They even have HazMat, swift water rescue, technical rescue, and bike medic teams. And, for ceremonial events such as funerals and parades, they call out the Honor Guard to show (and get) respect in their dress uniforms and highly polished fire truck.
Policing in Gwinnett is a bit more complicated. Depending on the circumstances, citizens might seek the help of the Gwinnett County Sheriff, the Gwinnett County Police, a city police department, private security firms contracted by cities, or others. (See our sidebar for who to contact where you live.)
Gwinnett County Sheriff R.L. (Butch) Conway occupies an elected constitutional office that is not a department of the county government. The Office of the Sheriff includes 552 sworn officers and operates the jail, provides court security, serves civil papers, executes arrest warrants and evictions, and other functions.
The Gwinnett County Police Department, led by Chief A.A. (Butch) Ayers, includes 783 sworn officers and handles many areas of law enforcement from traffic stops to emergency operations management. The nationally accredited county police department manages permitting for certain types of enterprises; enforces quality of life ordinances, such as those dealing with property maintenance, signs, and the registration of vacant/foreclosed property; provides primary law enforcement for unincorporated areas of the county, and to municipalities by contract; and runs educational crime prevention programs, among other things.
Some Gwinnett cities choose to operate their own police departments while others are served by the county police. Some smaller municipalities supplement county efforts with city marshal programs, which focus on issues like code enforcement and generally rely on county police for law enforcement. At least one city, Sugar Hill, uses security guards for patrol, though these are not trained first responders.
If that weren’t enough, there are a few other types of law enforcement you might encounter in Gwinnett:
- Campus police, in several varieties; University System of Georgia police officers are sworn peace officers
- Georgia State Patrol and the Motor Carrier Compliance Division are departments of the Georgia Department of Public Safety
- Georgia Bureau of Investigation may have jurisdiction in some types of cases
- The Department of Natural Resources employs Conservation Rangers, enforcing boating, environmental, and wildlife laws
The lesson is that you should feel pretty well-cared-for in Gwinnett. And, in an emergency, getting to the right agency couldn’t be simpler: always dial 911.
Police & Fire Contacts
Gwinnett County Public Safety Agencies
Gwinnett County Sheriff
Sheriff R.L. (Butch) Conway
General Fire and Emergency Services
Gwinnett County Police
Chief A.A. (Butch) Ayers
Municipal Police Departments
Auburn Police Department
Berkeley Lake Police Services*
Braselton Police Department
Buford Department of Public Safety
Dacula City Marshals
Marshal Steve Cline
Marshal Greg Chapel
Duluth Police Department
Chief R.D. Belcher
Grayson Police Services*
Lawrenceville Police Department
Chief L. (Randy) Johnson
Lilburn Police Department
Loganville Police Department
Chief Mike McHugh
Norcross Police Department
Chief Bill Grogan
Rest Haven Police Services*
Snellville City Police Department
Chief Roy Whitehead
Sugar Hill Public Safety
Suwanee Police Department
Chief Mike Jones
*Policing for Berkley Lake, Grayson, Peachtree Corners, and Rest Haven are provided by Gwinnett County Police.