Law enforcement chief quits after 34 years at Polk County Sheriff’s Office to become Peace River Center’s next CEO

After 34 years in the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Larry Williams, Jr., the head of the law enforcement department leaves the agency to accept the position of executive director at the Peace River Center. After entering the Florida Retirement System’s Deferred Retirement Option (DROP) program, Williams was preparing to officially retire based on his years of service, but then an opportunity arose with the Peace River Center.

Following a nationwide executive search that began in December 2021 to replace outgoing CEO Bill Gardam, the PRC Board unanimously selected Larry Williams.

“Larry Williams is a dear friend of mine, and I hate to see him go, but this is a great opportunity for him, and a solid choice of the PRC board. After a long and successful career with us, he joined DROP, but a person with his career does not stop. He still has so much to offer. » – Grady Judd, Sheriff

“I look forward to working with the professionals at PRC to deliver the highest quality and most impactful services to people in our diverse communities. Improving the lives and emotional well-being of our fellow citizens helps build a better quality of life for all of us. –Larry Williams, Chief, PCSO Law Enforcement Department

Williams began his career with the PCSO in 1988 as a part-time deputy sheriff and finished as head of the agency’s law enforcement department and executive staff member for Sheriff Grady Judd.

Williams holds an Associate of Arts degree from Polk Community College, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Warner Southern University, and a Masters degree from Troy University. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy Class 260, Southern Police Institute 114th Administrative Officers Course, Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP), and Florida State University’s Certified Public Manager Program.

Williams will officially take office as CEO at the Peace River Center on May 2, 2022.

Peace River Center (PRC) is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization that strives to impact the lives of our customers and the community we serve by engaging, restoring and empowering individuals to reach their full potential in providing a wide range of mental health services, victim services and substance use disorder services in Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties.

The mission of the Peace River Center is to engage, restore and empower individuals in our community to reach their full potential. The vision of the Peace River Center is to be a center of excellence for the development of emotional well-being.

—From the Peace River Center website. For more information, visit

About Michael C. Lovelace

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