Hughes kicks off campaign for sheriff at Nashville K-9

Mar 7, 2024

Former Brentwood Chief of Police Jeff Hughes doesn’t want to be retired for long. Hughes, who retired to his family farm in Fairview two years ago after a 36-year law enforcement career, said the right opportunity led him to seek the position of sheriff of Williamson County.

“The timing is right, the opportunity just presented itself,” Hughes said. “The decision to run was dictated when Dusty Rhoades decided to retire with two years left on his term and kind of forced my hand. I have a vested interest in this county. I have lived in Fairview most of my life and very grateful to have lived and worked in Williamson County my entire life.”

Hughes greeted a crowd of supporters the morning of Jan. 10 at the Nashville K9 Dog Training facility in Franklin to kick off his campaign. The K9 Dog facility is owned by Ali Hemyari, who is serving on the campaign staff for Hughes.

“We need a strong leader to come in and renovate the culture,” Hemyari said. “We need the right leadership to help give us a push in the right direction; we need to be protected.”

Hemyari is concerned about the amount of open deputy positions at the sheriff’s office currently.

“There are only 270 out of 360 positions filled — that is concerning. Hughes is the right man for the job,” Hemyari said.

City of Franklin Alderman Bev Burger introduced Hughes to the crowd.

“We need fresh eyes, need we a breath of fresh life, a positive culture,” Burger said. “After spending time with Jeff, I came away thinking this is the right man with the right vision and the right man to execute that vision.”

Hughes acknowledged his family in the crowd, as well as his Brentwood Police Department family which were in full force Wednesday. Brentwood Police Captain David O’Neil has worked with Hughes for over 25 years and thinks Hughes would make a great sheriff.

“Jeff created a culture at Brentwood Police where we took care of each other and were held accountable,” said O’Neil, who was also sworn in as the District 6 county commissioner on Jan. 8. “Jeff is big on leadership training and has a big focus on hiring the right people and creating a culture that leads.”

“We came up through the ranks together at the Brentwood Police Department. Jeff is like family to me,” O’Neil said.

Hughes emphasized three areas at his campaign kickoff: community over politics, protecting Williamson County and recruitment and retention.

“I have dedicated my entire career to this profession. I have almost over 40 years of experience in law enforcement and my accomplishments are well documented,” Hughes said.

Hughes oversaw the new state of the art Brentwood Police Department facility that opened in 2021 that came in under budget.

“I have proven leadership strategy of building a strong organization culture that recognizes the importance of service over self and improves morale and fosters recruitment,” Hughes said. “The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office needs to grow by adding technology that will allow us to work smarter, not harder.”

Burger noted that Hughes is not running against the other candidates but for the citizens of Williamson County.

“I am undisputedly the most experienced candidate at overseeing and managing an entire law enforcement organization,” Hughes said. “My vision is to put more deputies on the street, defend the constitution, and protect the citizens of Williamson County.”

Chief Hughes received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Middle Tennessee State University (major in Criminal Justice – minor in Psychology). He is also a graduate of the Southeastern Command and Leadership Academy at the University of Tennessee (Chattanooga).

Hughes lives near Fairview and attends the Walnut Street Church of Christ. He is a lifetime member of the Brentwood Noon Rotary Club, Morris Heithcock Lodge #41 Fraternal Order of Police, and the NRA. Visit for more information on his campaign.