John Q. Williams was born and raised in Gary, Indiana, a safe community where you could sleep with the windows open at night and leave your front door unlocked – that is, until the manufacturing industry that fueled Gary’s economy for so many decades died out in the late 60s and early 70s. Crime, poverty, and drug abuse spiraled out of control, and John found himself in the center of a community that was struggling to get by. Making matters worse, the overwhelmingly white police force that Gary had at the time was often apathetic towards the problems that faced the majority-minority population that composed Gary; even worse than that, the police often acted in a discriminatory way in various situations. John has many memories of being stopped or detained by the police for no reason and seeing family members or friends suffer from the same prejudice. As a result of those experiences, he has made it his mission to be an officer that truly treats everyone equally regardless of traits like race, ethnicity, or citizenship – and he wants to help create a criminal justice system that operates to those standards.
After leaving Gary to study Speech and Communications at Iowa State University, John moved to Athens to be closer to his family. In 1998, he took a job with the UGA Police Department that was titled as a “communications officer”, and was surprised to find out that was a technical title for a police dispatcher. He quickly began to excel in the role, and in 2002 he was hired by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department as a Lead Telecommunicator. In that capacity, he was responsible for training 9-1-1 operators for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD. Never one to stray too far from the place he calls home, he returned to Athens in 2005 and has been a fixture in the community ever since.
John Q was satisfied with his work in communications, returning as the Assistant Communications Coordinator for the UGA PD from 2005-2007; he then became a communications officer with the Athens-Clarke County Police Department. Williams gradually wanted to become more involved with cases, so he became POST (Police Officer Standards and Training) certified during his last year as a communications officer. He became a patrol officer with the ACCPD in 2009, and briefly served as the School Resource Officer for Cedar Shoals High School in 2011. From 2009-2011, John won accolades from the ACCPD. He was the ACCPD Civilian Employee of the Quarter for the first quarter of 2009, the ACCPD Sworn Employee of the Quarter for the second quarter of 2010, and most notably, Williams was recognized as the ACCPD Sworn Employee of the Year 2010-2011.
In 2013, John was promoted to Senior Police Officer, but he also took on a role that he takes a great amount of pride in. Alongside his duties as an officer, he became a Training Coordinator for the ACCPD. In this capacity, he taught classes to new ACCPD cadets about community policing, sensitivity, and combating racial bias in policing. John instructed courses that every ACCPD officer on the streets took at some point if he or she was hired in or after mid-2013. John has taken his passion for teaching to many places, including national conferences in South Dakota and state-level meetings. John was also a substitute teacher with the Clarke County School District until 2009. He has actively sought out course instruction certificates and POST supervisory certificates throughout his career.
In late 2017, John Q was promoted to Patrol Corporal where he continued to go above and beyond while also continuing his work with the ACCPD Career Development and Training Unit. In 2018, a Cpl. Williams was selected to finally reach the rank of Sergeant. After spending 2018 and 2019 working as a lead detective for domestic violence and missing person cases, John was brought back over to the ACCPD Career Development and Training Unit, where he was responsible for coordinating training for all newly hired officers, as well as leading classes for all police department employees about overcoming bias, community-oriented policing, and de-escalation tactics. In his free time, John Q likes to read and write poetry, as well as spend time with his family. He has published a book of poetry and plans to become more involved in the poetry scene of Athens. He has two sons, a step-son, and three step-daughters who are all grown or in college, and lives west side of Athens with his beloved wife Meshondra, a Compliance Specialist with more than 20 years of diverse experience in the insurance, accounting, banking and mortgage servicing industries.
John Q has served in nearly every capacity that someone could in the law enforcement system, from dispatch, patrol officer, instructor, to detective. He wants to use those experiences and his experiences through life to advocate for criminal justice reform in Athens-Clarke County, and to make the Sheriff’s Office the best it can be. He believes that the Sheriff should be an active leader in addressing local issues like mental illness or community violence in creative, effective ways; and that the Sheriff should be the leading representative of our county in addressing regional challenges like sex trafficking. He believes that the Sheriff’s Office should take a “community first” approach and make meaningful quality of life reforms for both Sheriff’s Office personnel and inmates. Sheriff Williams took office on January 1, 2021 and wants to use the authority given to the Sheriff to address the chronic problems that challenge our community.