Pat Ivey sworn in as Jacksonville sheriff after retirement of Mike Williams

Sheriff Pat Ivey is sworn in by Chief Judge Mark Mahon (Provided by Jacksonville Sheriff's Office)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A day after Sheriff Mike Williams ended his decades-long career amid ongoing controversy over his move to Nassau County, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office found itself under new leadership.

In a private ceremony, Pat Ivey was sworn in Saturday as the sixth sheriff to serve Jacksonville since consolidation.

Ivey was appointed to the post by Gov. Ron DeSantis and will fill the role until an August special election when voters will choose a sheriff who will fulfill the remainder of Williams’ second term. The special election is expected to take place Aug. 23 with a runoff election, if needed, in November.

A general election for 2023 will then be held in the spring. Right now, there are six candidates who are running in the 2023 election.

DeSantis had to step in to appoint an interim sheriff when Williams abruptly announced his retirement this month -- the same day the city’s general counsel was set to issue an opinion on whether Williams had vacated his office by moving out of the county last year.

“My chapter ends Friday -- left in very capable hands by Pat Ivey,” Williams said when the governor announced the appointment at a news conference in Jacksonville.

Ivey began his career at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in 1994. He came up through the ranks of the department working in numerous areas of the agency.

Ivey was appointed to the Sheriff’s staff under former Sheriff John Rutherford in 2009, where he served as an Assistant Chief and then Division Chief. In July 2015, former Sheriff Mike Williams appointed Ivey to serve his administration as the agency’s second in command.

“As Undersheriff throughout Williams’ administration, Ivey was involved in all the agency’s operations -- from internal investigations to contract negotiations as well as the overall strategic plan -- leading the more than 3,000 employees in the mission to serve and protect our community,” JSO said in a social media post announcing his swearing in.

The post said that as sheriff Ivey plans to “carry on the mission of driving down violent crime by leveraging newer technology and increasing mental health and special needs awareness among officers and the public JSO serves. He recognizes Jacksonville’s success depends on the involvement of citizens from every neighborhood of the city and every walk of life.”

When he announced Ivey’s appointment, DeSantis thanked Williams for his service to Jacksonville and said he thinks Nassau County is a beautiful place.

“I just want to thank Mike Williams for his service,” DeSantis said. “He’s had a great career in law enforcement. I think he’s done a great job here in northeast Florida and I think he’s been a good public servant, he’s been somebody I consider a friend. I wish him fair winds and following seas, I guess as a Nassau County resident, it’s a beautiful place. We thank him for his service.”