San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

Police Chief Howard E. Williams will retire at the end of July after 36 years in law enforcement and 11 years at the helm of the San Marcos Police Department. 

April 3rd, 2014
SMPD chief Howard Williams to retire Aug. 1


Police Chief Howard E. Williams will retire at the end of July after 36 years in law enforcement and 11 years at the helm of the San Marcos Police Department.



“It has been an honor to serve the people of San Marcos … I fell in love with San Marcos when I arrived in 1975 to attend the University. It has become my adopted hometown, and I could not be more pleased than to retire here,” Williams said in a written statement announcing his retirement.

Williams began his career in 1978 as a cadet in the Austin Police Department, working his way up the ladder to the rank of commander, where he served stints in charge of the organized crime division and training divisions.

More on William’s career and retirement from city of San Marcos spokesperson Melissa Millecam:

In December 2013, Williams was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Criminal Justice from Texas State University, with a dissertation on arrest-related sudden deaths after the use of TASERS. He previously earned a BA and a Master’s of Science in Criminal Justice from Texas State. He is the author of three books in police sciences.

The ACT program, a collaboration between the City of San Marcos and Texas State University, has won national and international awards for its innovative approach to problem-solving and citizen participation.

Under Williams’ guidance, the San Marcos Police Department added mental health officers in partnership with the Hays County Sheriff’s office to assist mentally ill individuals in crisis.

SMPD has also achieved:

  • Faster police response times to calls by adding a new patrol district
  • Improving the dispatch system for Fire and EMS calls
  • Improving transparency through publication of annual use of force reports as well as racial profiling reports
  • Participation in the Bank Robbery Initiative Consortium with Central Texas law enforcement agencies and banking institutions to prevent and solve bank robberies
  • A focus on traffic enforcement and attention to high collision areas
  • Special projects at the outlet malls during busy holiday seasons and increased enforcement and police presence downtown to address the impact of 2 a.m. bar closing hours
  • Community engagement through the Citizen Police Academy, the School Resource Officer program, National Night Out and other outreach programs

“The City of San Marcos has benefitted greatly from Chief Williams’ 36 years of law enforcement experience,” said City Manager Jared Miller. “Over the past 11 years as Chief of Police, his experience and leadership have helped guide the SMPD and our community during a period of unprecedented growth. I am grateful to Chief Williams for his positive impact on the department and on our community. Our challenge and opportunity now is to identify a dynamic leader who will build on Chief Williams’ work and take our department to the next level.”

Chief Williams has received many police department awards including two Meritorious Unit Citations, the Meritorious Service Award, and the Superior Service Award for Community Service.

He has also received several community awards including a US Department of Justice Certificate of Appreciation, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) Academic Recognition medal, the Travis County Dispute Resolution Center Peacemaker Award, the Fox 7 News Person of the Week for Outstanding Community Service Award, and the Gary Job Corps Excellence in Public Service Award.

He has served on the TCOLE Education Committee, on the US Justice Department’s Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee for the Western District of Texas, and on the Texas Municipal Police Association Youth Alcohol Steering Committee.

He has also been an advisor to the Texas Bar Association Continuing Education Program. He is a past president of the Hays County Criminal Justice Association and of the Gary Job Corps Community Relations Committee. He was also a former member of the advisory board for the Travis County Dispute Resolution Center.

Currently, Chief Williams is a member of the advisory board for the Hays County Dispute Resolution Center. He also serves as a community justice council member of the Caldwell, Comal, and Hays Counties Community Supervision and Corrections Department and as a member of the Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee of the San Marcos Consolidated School District.

He is a member of the Texas Police Chiefs’ Association, the Police Executive Research Forum, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He is also a current member of the Hays County Criminal Justice Committee and the Hays County Criminal Justice Association.

Williams, 58, served as Austin’s Police Commander for the Organized Crime Division and as a Commander of the Northeast Area Command and the Training Division, where he managed investigations and strategic traffic enforcement. Howard entered the Austin Police Department in July 1978 as a cadet.

During his tenure in the Organized Crime Division, Williams managed the Narcotics, Gangs, Career Criminal, Financial Crimes, High-Tech Crimes, Nuisance Abatement, Forfeiture, Forged Prescriptions, and Alcohol Control sections and supervised 101 employees under an $8.5 million budget.

Chief Williams has written three books in police sciences: Investigating White Collar Crime: Embezzlement and Financial Fraud; Asset Forfeiture and TASER Electronic Control Devices and Sudden In-Custody Death.

He has also authored an article entitled “The Braidwood Commission reports on TASER use in Canada: An evidence-based policy review” for Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, and he has co-authored a chapter entitled “Using ethical dilemmas in training police” in Justice, Crime and Ethics, 7th Edition, a book on law enforcement ethics.

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