CRAWFORDVILLE, Ga. (WJBF) — Years ago it wasn’t common to see a female police officer suited up on patrol. But one woman in rural Georgia is breaking glass ceilings.

Meet Tia McWilliams. She is the first African American woman Sheriff in Taliaferro County.
Straight out of Wilkes County, Georgia, she’s been with the Sheriff’s Office for nearly 20 years most recently as Chief Deputy. “I immediately went into a 21 day fast and I cleaned out all distractions and anything that would allow me to be distracted from doing my absolute best,” the Sheriff told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.

Williams says she didn’t choose law enforcement, but a higher power chose it for her. She helped a friend and she in return received grace during her time of need. “When I found myself to be unemployed and looking for a job, it was by a friend who I had helped that I was able to be referred to this position,” she recalled.

The Sheriff’s staff is the size of a football team with the player/coach as the only female taking part. “I don’t think it took long. I think to everything there is a time and season and God is always in control. This is a male-dominated world, but in the words of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, it’s a man’s world, but it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman or girl,” Sherriff McWilliams said.

Through the years, she says she’s proud of being able to stay focused on the task at hand. “I just needed to step up to the plate, be here do my part, and continue to serve the citizens of Taliaferro County to the best of my ability,” she shared.

With a new year, she now has a new focus as she hopes to bring upgrades to much-needed resources in the County. “I would love to be able to expand our 911 operations center to be able to create a more comfortable space and working environment for 911 that are confined to a small space at this time,” the Sheriff said. “I would also like to be able to establish an in-house training for our officers to be able to train and grow and develop their potential skills,” she added.

The mother of two says she hopes to lead others down a path as others have led her. “Allow me to be a beacon of light in this world and allow me to shine bright for all those who I encounter,” Sheriff’s McWilliams said.

The Sheriff also joined weekend Good Morning Augusta anchor Shawn Cabbagestalk to talk about the achievement. The full interview is down below.