Williams works his life's goal
by Rory Doyle
Feb 07, 2013 | 3750 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bolivar County Sheriff Kelvin Williams said his dedicated staff has successfully cracked down on crime since he took office in January of 2012.
Bolivar County Sheriff Kelvin Williams said his dedicated staff has successfully cracked down on crime since he took office in January of 2012.
It has been just over a year since Bolivar County Sheriff Kelvin Williams was sworn in as the county's new law enforcement leader.

Williams said he's proud of his crew's accomplishments and for developing a reputation as a strict crime-fighting department.

It hasn't all been easy but Williams said hard work and a dedication to service have built a solid foundation.

"I've been telling the staff since day one that's it's not about me, it's not about you, it's about protecting and serving the citizens of Bolivar County," said Williams.

And Williams believes the numbers support this concept, as Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility Warden James Moore is now responsible for more inmates than the facility has ever had.

"We have about 365 state prisoners and 100 county prisoners," said Williams. "That's about 150 more from when I took office."

The appointment of Williams is also of social significance. For the first time since the 1870s, citizens of Bolivar County elected an African American sheriff.

The change was big local news especially after Williams replaced longtime icon Sheriff H.M. "Mack" Grimmett who served for 32 years.

"Truthfully, my campaign and election were not about color," said Williams. "I ran on the premise of being fair, firm and consistent with everyone in this county."

Williams added that Grimmett has been of great assistance since he took over and thanked him for his willingness to pick up the phone.

As with all big changes, there is always opposition, but Williams said he came in with a clear head and reminds himself daily to remember his true mission.

"Expectations are high and sometimes that adds a lot of pressure," he said. "It's the pressure of not wanting to fail the people, especially those who went out of the way to support me.

"My main goal is to stay focused on the job at hand and not let negative things bring me down."

Williams also credits his dedicated deputies, inspectors and staff for making this first year a success.

"At this point, I don't think I could ask for a better group of people," said Williams. "Their leadership and common vision are what makes this whole operation work."

Williams citied a number of positive changes that the department is proud of in the past year, including one of his major campaign promises.

Developing the BCSD's public presence will continue to remain at Williams's forefront.

"One of our key resources is maintaining a strong relationship with the community," he said. "We work hard every day so they will trust us and help us prevent crime."

The department is also focusing on accelerating the speed of investigations.

"When major crimes have occurred we've jumped on them immediately," Williams said. "Our deputies have closed a lot of cases in an expedited manner. There're a couple cases that we haven't solved but we're working hard."

Tapping into state and federal agencies and cooperating with local police departments has also helped the crew in the battle.

"We don't have all the resources we need so I've been working closely with bigger agencies — from the M.B.I, F.B.I, U.S. Marshals Service and so on."

Williams admitted amidst the positives there's also been a learning curve since taking over.

"We've had a few kinks along the way but we use our mistakes to make us better," he said. "We learn from them and don't make them again.

"As for me, it's been a learning process just as it was for all the sheriffs before me. I don't think the learning ever stops."

"I feel confident that we've accomplished a lot of what we said we'd do, but we're not done yet," he added. "We're on the right track to becoming one of the best law enforcement departments in the state of Mississippi."

And one special person has been his guiding light throughout all the ups and downs.

"I'm truly blessed to have my wife supporting me on a daily basis," said the father of three. "I knew that there would be some family sacrifices when taking this job, but I refuse to lose my family in this process."

Originally from Mound Bayou, Williams has an extensive law enforcement resume that includes positions with the St. Louis Police Department, Mississippi Department of Corrections and the Cleveland Police Department.

The years of service have paid off and he hopes to be the face of the BCSD for years to come.

"A long time ago I set the goal of becoming the sheriff one day," Williams said. "At some point in your career you want to work your way to the top of the profession.

"Becoming the sheriff of Bolivar County has provided me with the opportunity to achieve a lifelong goal."