Williamson County Sheriff Jeff Long says he owes much of his career success to his education at Nashville School of Law.
“The School put me into the next arena with my law degree,” he says. “I can’t stress enough how important that was to me.”
Long took an interest in law enforcement from an early age, though his mother thought he was going to be a Methodist preacher. He was born and raised in Decatur County and graduated from Riverside High School. He then majored in political science and criminal justice at the University of Memphis.
After college, Long served with the state fire marshal’s office as an arson investigator, then worked with the Veterans Administration. He moved to the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office and served as an investigator for the 17th Judicial District, which is now the 21st Judicial District and includes Williamson County.
In 1981, he started his studies at Nashville School of Law. The choice for Long was obvious, as he needed to work during the day and go to school at night.
“I wanted to learn more about the law, as I was in the investigative business and had an eye on working for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).”
He had to cut down to taking classes part time for a couple years, but Long received his degree in 1987. He loved his time at NSL, fondly recalling the teaching of Davidson County District
Attorney General Tom Shriver in Criminal Law, Jack Butler for Moot Court and Mark Westlake for Legal Research and Writing.
Long worked with the TBI for several years after graduation, then took a job as an assistant district attorney in the 21st judicial district.
“I handled everything in that job,” he recalls.
In 2008, he received a request from one of the circuit court judges and a circuit court clerk to run for Williamson County Sheriff.
“I agreed to meet with county officials and decided to run,” he said.
Ten years later, Long uses his law school education every day.
“Deputies come to me to ask legal questions,” he said. “I will often proof their search warrants.”
He enjoys dealing with the community every day and representing his county, which is continuing to grow rapidly. Long is most proud of bringing trust and goodwill to law enforcement.
“Today’s law enforcement is not always viewed in a positive light,” he said. “I have worked hard to try to make a difference across the state in raising the trust of law enforcement.”
Long tries to live every day by the mantra ‘Do the right thing.’” He also is quite proud of his family. Long’s son is a narcotics officer at the sheriff’s office and his daughter works as a nurse. His wife is retired from more than 40 years working in the education system.
Long’s advice to current NSL students: “Appreciate the opportunity you have at NSL and try to learn everything you can. Much of the material you learn in class will apply in your daily professional lives.”•