Gov.-elect Bill Lee has named Williamson County Sheriff Jeff Long as commissioner of the state Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
The Tennessee Journal’s On the Hill reported the appointment Monday.
The department oversees the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Office of Homeland Security and drivers’ license centers, among other functions.
Long, the Tennessee Sheriff Association’s sheriff of the year of 2013, will take over the post from David Purkey, who was named safety commissioner in 2016. Purkey, a former state trooper and mayor of Hamblen County, had served as assistant commissioner since 2011.
Long succeeded former Williamson County Sheriff Ricky Headley, who resigned in 2008 as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors in Davidson and Williamson counties over fraudulently obtaining prescription pain pills, the Journal reported.
Long previously said he first met and was impressed by Lt. Gov./Senate Speaker Rand McNally (R-TN-05) during Operation Rocky Top, a law enforcement sting of political corruption in the late 1980s when McNally helped prosecutors.
Long is a graduate of the University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science, according to his biography on the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office website. He received a Doctorate of Jurisprudence Degree from Nashville School of Law. He has served in the criminal justice field for the past 44 years as an Assistant District Attorney for the 21st Judicial District, Special Agent in Charge with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Investigator for the 21st Judicial District, Arson Investigator with the Tennessee Fire Marshall’s Office, Captain with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office and Federal Hospital Police Officer with the Veterans Administration Hospital in Memphis.
Long is married to Dora Long and the couple has two children, Julie and Justin, and five grandchildren. The Longs are members of Franklin First United Methodist Church, where Jeff Long serves on the church council.
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