Jason Williams has been named chief of police by Mayor Mike Callis. He had been serving as interim since Jan. 2 when Chief Anthony Heavner retired.
Callis said, “Having spent the last several weeks considering the best path forward for our police department and for our city, I decided that Jason Williams is the person we need to lead our way into the future.
“As we move toward accreditation and as we pursue to make the Portland Police Department (PPD) one of the best departments in the state, Chief Williams will be that leader to help carry us forward.”
Williams began his law enforcement career with the Hendersonville Police Department in 2001 as a patrol officer. After working a few years in Hendersonville and with the Sumner County Sheriff’s Department, he began working with the PPD in 2004. He worked in several positions at the department as he rose in rank.
He served as the DARE Officer from 2005 to 2010 where he taught drug prevention and education at the elementary schools in Portland. He moved to the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) in 2001 as a detective. In 2019 he was promoted to Lieutenant and was given the supervisory duties of the CID.
In 2015 he earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Bethel University. He is also a graduate of Session VII of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Williams is certified as an Advanced Examiner in Computer Voice Stress Analysis. In addition, he has received over 1,500 hours of specialized law enforcement training.
He began studying criminal justice at Tennessee Tech after he graduated from high school in 1997, but returned home after two years to begin working at one of the factories in Portland.
According to Williams, he went back to finish his degree years later to set an example for his children. He said it was one of the few things, if not the only thing, he had started and not completed. He has never regretted that decision and feels that it has paid off for him.
“The past month or so has been a very positive experience,” Williams said. “I have got a lot of support from the community, as well as the people who work here in this building. I have also received a lot of support from city government, such as the city council, mayor, and human resources.
“Everyone has been very positive, receptive, and helpful. So that has made this transition much easier for me as far as moving from what I was doing to moving to this job now. I’m encouraged because of that and I’m just very appreciative and humbled by the opportunity.”