AC Sheriff Clovis Watson Jr. announces retirement

Alachua County Sheriff Clovis Watson Jr.
Alachua County Sheriff Clovis Watson Jr.
Photo by Suzette Cook

Alachua County Sheriff Clovis Watson Jr. announced his last day in office will be on Oct. 1.

Watson sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday declaring that he would step down from his elected term early due to health reasons.  

In the letter, Watson said, “After much soul-searching and with a great sense of sadness, I am announcing my retirement from my position as Sheriff of Alachua County effective Oct. 1, 2023. Earlier this year when I announced that I would not be seeking re-election, it was my intention to complete my term in office, but due to my personal healthy I now feel it would be better to go ahead and retire at this time.

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“After more than forty years in law enforcement and public service, this decision has been very difficult, but I have accepted that my health is such that I fear that I may not be able to meet my own expectations for performing my sworn duties.”

Watson added that whoever is appointed to complete his term would be, “supported by a workforce comprised of support staff and deputy sheriffs who are committed to keeping our entire community safe.”

The letter concluded with Watson saying that he would use his remaining time in office to help the ACSO prepare for a smooth transition to new leadership.

On June 21, Watson announced he would not seek re-election in 2024.

Watson has faced criticism over the last two years for how he handled an internal affairs investigation against three ACSO employees and in his negotiations with the North Central Florida Police Benevolent Association over a contract with ACSO deputies, which was finally approved in July 2022.

Watson defeated Sadie Darnell, who had served as Alachua County Sheriff for 14 years, in an August 2020 primary election. He captured 59% of the vote and ran unopposed in the November 2020 general election.

Prior to being elected sheriff, Watson serve as a Democratic state representative from 2012 to 2020 for the 20th District. He previously worked in the law enforcement field for the city of Alachua and Santa Fe College and also served as the Alachua city manager.

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About 10 more so called leadership officials in Gainesville need to join him

And replace by competent merit based individuals

Clovis Watson epitomizes the Southern Democrat locally. The sheriff’s office is an elected office, locally that just another word for say-good old boys who run Alachua County don’t give a damn as long as the Governor or the Cotton Fletcher Gang controls the appointment. or someone other than the voters s the office. Watson has assured their handpicked candidate will have a leg up as an incumbent for the election. The idea that no one will embarrass Watson for his latest dirty trick is appalling.


So Long. Here is your hat.

Cynthia Binder

Health retire n sleep in oh yes
Yes we get older👩‍🦰
Be healthier happier 🙏 ✨ 😊

Cristie Addison

Perhaps someone needs to ask him about a few other “mistakes” he’s made while being Sheriff. For instance when he decided by himself to PERSONALLY transport an inmate from the county jail across county into another county to the RMC in Lake Butler, Fl. Thus overriding a Judge’s order to stay and with no correspondence with the state Attorney or inmates attorney.

Jeff Gehmann

This could be that there is an indictment on the way and he doesn’t want to be an indicted official.