INDIANA STATE POLICE Major Jerry Williams (holding plaque) flanked by Gary Mayor Jerome Prince (left) and deputy mayor trent mccain (right), and police chiefs from neighboring towns and cities.
The man Gary Mayor Jerome Prince referred to as his ‘hometown hero’ and the man “who went over and beyond the call of duty to exercise his statutory responsibilities to care for the well being and safety of others” was presented with a key to the city Tuesday morning.
Officers from the Indiana State Police and chiefs of law enforcement agencies across Lake County packed the Gary Room at city hall to witness the recognition bestowed on ISP Major Jerry Williams, the man who answered the mayor’s call to help reform the Gary Police Dept.
For Gary’s Chief of Police Anthony Titus, the occasion was evidence that barriers between public agencies were crumbling. “This speaks volumes to what ISP Supt. Doug Carter, the mayor and deputy mayor hoped would happen 20 months ago, that law enforcement would move out of silos and begin to depend on our common goals, our professionalism and skill sets to come together to do what’s right for our communities.”
On loan from the Indiana State Police, Major Williams headed a team that updated city statutes governing the hiring, promotion, and retention of Gary police officers. Internally, new patrol and investigative procedures were established to increase police presence and rebuild citizens’ confidence in their police department.
Increases in state and federal funding equipped the department with new police communications technologies. The department’s new Real Time Crime Center and Lake County Prosecutors Homicide Task Force were initiated under William’s leadership. Williams even served as interim police chief for six months, from January to June 2023, to help implement and support the reforms.
“I remember the phone call in 2021, almost 2 years ago to this month, when Mayor Prince asked could we do something different with our public safety,” Major Williams said. “The next day, I took it to Supt. Carter and then we took it to Gov. Holcomb.”
“You guys can’t talk about politics, but I will,” Williams said. “The truth of the matter is I went to a Republican superintendent and a Republican governor to ask them to do something for my Black Democratic community here in Gary.”
Williams, a Gary native, grew up in the Emerson neighborhood and has 30 years experience with the Indiana State Police. He serves on Supt. Carter’s primary staff as Assistant Chief of Staff of Logistics and is the highest ranking African American in the department.
Williams is responsible for and oversees the maintenance of $300-plus million dollars in assets for the department, which includes all post facilities and grounds, regional laboratory facilities, General Headquarters, aviation hangars, fixed wing and helicopters, microwave towers and buildings, vehicle fleet, gun ranges, quartermaster, vehicle parts and inventory.
Williams oversaw construction of the laboratory/post facility in Ft. Wayne (completed in 2021) and is responsible for the construction of new posts in Lowell (expected completion in 2023) and Evansville (expected completion in 2024).
Williams has served as District Commander of the Lowell Post. He was appointed to the rank of Major in 2014.
Before joining ISP, he served as a Corrections Officer with the Lake County Sheriff’s Dept.
According to one source, Major Williams is being positioned to head the Lake County Sheriff’s Dept. if current Sheriff Oscar Martinez is forced to resign because of his legal troubles.