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MEN OF NEWTON 2021: Tyrone Oliver
Tyrone Oliver
Tyrone Oliver - photo by Special to The Covington News

Growing up in Newton County, Tyrone Oliver aspired to do one of three things: be a mortician, serve in the military or be in law enforcement. Turns out, though, he’s done all three things throughout his life. 

Nevertheless, Oliver’s main mission in life has never wavered. 

“I’ve dedicated myself to helping people,” Oliver said. “It’s also about making sure the communities are safe and people are thriving.” 

First, Oliver was a mortician for George Levett and Sons Funeral Home in Conyers, then he served in the Navy as a hospital corpsman. 

Oliver’s law enforcement career began in 1999 with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office as a detention officer. 

Since then, he’s quickly moved up the ladder. 

In 2013, Oliver was one of the first employees of the Brookhaven Police Department. Three years later in January 2016, Oliver was named Social Circle’s chief of police where he was appointed Social Circle’s deputy city manager two years later. 

Currently, Oliver is the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice. Gov. Brian Kemp appointed him in July 2019. 

As commissioner, Oliver takes on a lot of responsibilities on a day-to-day basis.  

The Department of Juvenile Justice consists of over 3,000 employees, 10,000 youth, 25 secured detention centers, 86 Community Offices and Georgia’s 181st school district  called Georgia Preparatory Academy.

Earlier this year, Oliver was awarded the Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators President’s Award. The award is a national award recognizes a member who has made a significant contribution through participation in the organization’s activities, according to the DJJ. 

Receiving this honor was tabbed the most special by Oliver, but earning accolades isn’t what motivates him to succeed in his position. 

The core principle for Oliver remains intact with serving people. 

“Seeing the success stories,” Oliver said. “Even though there is justice involved, [the youth] is still our future. Not only do we hold these kids accountable for what they’ve done, but we also provide them with opportunities to succeed when they reenter society.” 

Impressively enough, Oliver has accomplished all of this in Newton County all while he considers himself a “transplant.” 

Oliver and his family moved here from New York in 1993. He graduated from Newton High School in 1997. From there, Oliver graduated from Columbus State University’s Law Enforcement Program, the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Development Program as well as the FBI Leadership Trilogy. He also attended the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange to Israel.  

Even though life has taken him elsewhere, Oliver still considers Newton County home.

“I’m always been drawn back to this community,” Oliver said. “This is home to me and I love the people and everything about it. I love seeing it grow, too, so Newton County is home.”