Sheriff Austin Garrett was sworn in as the 60th Sheriff of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, September 1, 2022. He was the first candidate elected to the Office of Sheriff to run unopposed in over five decades.
Prior to being elected Sheriff, he was appointed to serve as Chief Deputy by his predecessor, Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond in February 2019. As Sheriff, he leads and directs the administration and operations of the 4th largest Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee, comprised of 540 employees and operating under a $65 million budget. As the 4th largest county in Tennessee, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for a jurisdiction spanning 576 square miles and over 366,000 citizens.
Prior to his appointment as Chief Deputy, Sheriff Garrett served 25 years with the Chattanooga Police Department, retiring as a lieutenant, where he was responsible for command of the Tactical and Traffic Operations Division encompassing 13 specialized units.
During his last nine years with the Chattanooga Police Department he was directly responsible for crisis management, security, and safety at all major events held in the city of Chattanooga.
In the course of his career, he also served as a patrol officer, auto theft investigator, FBI Task Force Investigator, motor officer, and special events supervisor. He has extensive experience in public safety partnerships and large-scale event planning and management.
Sheriff Garrett holds a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Bethel University, is a graduate of the FBI National Academy Session 273, and graduated from the Southeastern Command and Leadership Academy Session 11. He has served as an advisory committee member with the University of Southern Mississippi’s National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4).
Sheriff Garrett also serves as a board member for the Forgotten Child Fund that annually provides Christmas gifts to over 10,000 local children, as well as YCAP, Crime Stoppers, and the Hamilton County 911 Board. He also serves on the legislative committee for the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association.
Sheriff Garrett was born and raised in Bryant, Alabama, and moved to Hamilton County in 1993. He has been married to Pam McAllister-Garrett since May 2012, and they have two children, Allison Haley Garrett and Ashli Madalyn Garrett.
Sheriff Garrett and his wife are members of Shelter Church in East Brainerd, where he serves on their security committee. He is also a member of the Brainerd Masonic Lodge #736.