Chief Butch Ayers speaks to members of the press outside Gwinnett County Police Department Headquarters in Lawrenceville on Saturday, October 20, 2018. A Gwinnett County police officer was fatally shot near Snellville on Saturday afternoon, according to the department. The officer, identified as Antwan Toney, died after he was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center, the department announced. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gwinnett police Chief Butch Ayers is retiring; successor named

Gwinnett County police Chief Butch Ayers will retire later this year, officials announced Thursday.

Ayers has been with the department for 35 years and took over as chief in 2014. He led the department through turbulent events in recent years, acting swiftly when two GCPD officers were caught on camera assaulting a motorist and providing support when another officer was gunned down in the line of duty

Ayers also pushed for raises and more aggressive recruiting tactics that have helped beat back the tide of attrition at the department. 

“I have decided that the time is right to retire and pass the torch to my successor,” Ayers said in a news release. “The men and women of the Gwinnett County Police Department are the finest anywhere in law enforcement and it has been a great honor to serve with them.” 

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Deputy Chief Tom Doran, another longtime veteran of GCPD, will replace Ayers and take over the chief position effective Nov. 15, officials said.

Soon-to-be Gwinnett police Chief Tom Doran. (Courtesy: Gwinnett County)

Doran -- who will become the fifth consecutive Gwinnett County police chief to rise through the ranks after joining the department as an officer --  began his career in 1993. He currently commands the department’s operations bureau and is an 18-year veteran of the SWAT team. 

Doran holds a master’s degree in public administration and is a 2009 graduate of the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College.

“Chief Ayers has set a high standard for our police department in every area, most importantly with regard to its interaction with our diverse community, and our community has responded by showing tremendous support for the department,” Gwinnett County Admnistrator Glenn Stephens said. “And I am confident that Chief Doran will not only continue this but lead the department to higher levels of community involvement and service.”

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