May 23, 2019  

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Patrick Williams is a lieutenant for the University Police Department (UPD). Recently, he was promoted to lieutenant for the Gulf Coast Division after serving as a patrol officer for two years. He spent some time with us to reflect on his professional career and outside interests in a question-and-answer format.

Q: What is your hometown and educational background?

A: I was born and raised in New Orleans, where I graduated from a small private high school called Ecole Classique. I attended Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond on football and track scholarships. I earned an Associate of Arts in law enforcement in 1986 and a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice in 1988. I later earned a Master of Liberal Arts from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan., in 1991.

Q: How many years have you been with the University Police Department and what led you here?

A: I have been with UPD for two years. When I retired from my federal law enforcement career after 23 years of service, I wanted to continue to work as a law enforcement officer. It just so happened UPD was seeking a patrol officer, and it was everything I was seeking in a second career. Accepting that position was the best decision I’ve made since I retired from my federal career.

Q: As a lieutenant for UPD, what all does your job entail?

A: I wear many different hats. However, my first priority over and above everything is the safety and protection of my campus family, which includes my officers, faculty, staff, students, vendors, contractors and visitors to campus. Secondly, my priority is the protection of USM property and its assets. I also supervise 12 employees, consisting of sworn police officers and security officers.

Q: Where did you work prior to joining Southern Miss?

A: Prior to working for UPD, I was employed as a federal agent with the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) for 23 years. I began my federal career in the USDOJ Field Office in New Orleans in 1992. I have also worked with various federal Task Force units such as the FBI Violent Crime Task Force, ATF Safe Streets Task Force, DEA Task Force and the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force. In 2004, I was transferred to the USDOJ Field Office in Gulfport as a senior agent, where I was a field supervisor and responsible for the district’s Search and Enforcement Team.

Q: What has been your favorite aspect of working in a University environment?

A:  The people. I like the small size of our Gulf Park campus and that it is easy to get to know the faculty, staff and students with whom I work. The environment here is friendly, inviting, and in my opinion, a wonderful place to spend a career.

Q: What has been your proudest accomplishment while working at the University, and why?

A: My biggest accomplishment since I’ve been with UPD is being selected as the lieutenant for the Gulf Coast Division. I couldn’t be more honored and proud that UPD Police Chief Bob Hopkins and his command staff have enough faith and trust in me to take on this enormous responsibility. As a lieutenant, I am able to extensively draw from and utilize my education, prior law enforcement experience, and prior supervisory experience, and apply all of that directly to my job.

Q: Some children dream of becoming heroes like firefighters and policemen. Did you always want to be a police officer growing up?

A: I was fascinated with law enforcement ever since I can remember. When I was 10 years old, my father bought me a book titled Inside the F.B.I. I read that entire book in about two days, and from that point forward, I was hooked. I began reading everything I could find that was law enforcement related. Before graduating from high school, I knew my employment goal was to be a federal agent.

Q: Many believe being of service to others is self-rewarding. Would you say this is true?

A: In my personal opinion, being a public servant is extremely rewarding. It allows us the opportunity to truly make a difference in the community. Most public servants will tell you that serving the public is simply in their blood, and they would not have it any other way.

Q: If you weren’t employed in your current job, what else might you be doing and why?

A:  If I were not employed in my present position, I would probably be pursuing a degree in archaeology. All of my adult life, I have been fascinated with archaeology, particularly that concerning the ancient Egyptians. In my spare time, I read archaeology journals and review scholarly research from experts in the field. When I retire from this career, it is my intent to travel and try my hand as an amateur archaeologist.

Q: What do you like to do during your spare time when you’re not working?

A:  I am a car and motorcycle fanatic. I ride a large motorcycle cruiser, and when the weather is pleasant, one of my favorite activities is to jump on the bike, hit the road, and leave my stress behind. When the weather is beautiful, you can see me on campus riding to or from work on the bike. However, my true joy in life is my family. Every opportunity I have to spend time with my family, I do.

Q: What is the best advice you ever received and from whom?

A: The best advice I have ever received has always been from my Dad, and that is 1) If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing correctly from the start; and 2) Almost any man can father a child; however, not every father is a Dad. Be a Dad to your children forever.

Q: What advice would you give to others?

A: 1) Follow your dreams and never give up. Set a goal and do not let anything stop you. It will not always be an easy road; however, it is YOUR dream. Whatever it takes to achieve your dream, no matter how difficult, it will all be worth it in the end. 2) Get your education!