San Marcos Police Chief Howard Williams, 58, will retire Aug. 1 from a 36-year career in law enforcement.
Williams served 25 years with the Austin Police Department and retired from APD when he was selected to be the chief of police for the San Marcos Police Department. Williams said he is retiring now “because it’s time.”
“It’s just that I’ve been in police work for 36 years—I’ve been the chief for 11,” Williams said. “And you know, you just reach a stage in your life where you realize you’ve made your contribution—it’s time to get out of the way and let somebody else make theirs.”
Mayor Daniel Guerrero said has been “blessed” to work with Williams.
“I think he brought a tremendous amount of value and professionalism to not only the police department, but to the entire city organization,” Guerrero said.
Williams said he began in APD as a police cadet in July 1978. During his time at APD, Williams worked in a number of departments including White Collar Crime, theft detail as a detective and Narcotics. Williams was in charge of the inspection unit. He was a commander at the training academy and then the commander in the organized crime division, he said.
Williams retired from APD in 2003 and became San Marcos’ chief of police in July 2003, he said.
Williams said he is proud of many accomplishments from his time as SMPD chief of police. Williams is proud of bringing counselors to help victims and their families deal with the trauma of being affected by crime. He is proud of the mental health unit SMPD now has with officers who are trained to help people who are dealing with mental health crises.
Williams said one of the hardest things he had to do as police chief was arrest two of his own officers this summer.
“Arresting two of my own officers for crimes they had committed while they were my officers was really painful,” Williams said. “I expect more of my officers. I expect better from my officers, and for them to behave in such a way that I ended up firing both of them and arresting both of them on criminal charges was just a horrible disappointment for me.”
Williams, a Texas State alumnus, said he attended Southwest Texas State in 1975. He received his bachelor’s degree in applied arts and sciences and his master’s degree in criminal science from the university. He graduated last December with his Ph.D. in criminal science from Texas State.
“I’m a nerd—I don’t know how else to say it,” Williams said. “I enjoy the academic pursuit. I really do.”
Williams said he is not sure what he will be doing after retirement but does not see himself as “one to sit in a rocking chair by the fireplace.” He will take this time to make up all the missed dinners and late nights to his wife.
“I have no intention of leaving San Marcos, and I intend to continue to serve my community in whatever ways my community feels is appropriate,” Williams said. “I love this town, I love the university and I love the people of this town.”