Behind the Badge: MUPD officer Josiah Williams

Josiah Williams, a blues music-loving Marquette Police officer, may not be on his current career path without a youth role model to look up to.

“It goes all the way back to when I was a child,” Williams said. “There was a female police officer, Julia (Witherspoon) … Lots of people in our area weren’t so fond of police officers, but by her being a black female officer she gained a lot of respect from the people in our neighborhood,” he said. 

Born and raised in Racine, Wisconsin, Williams was inspired by Witherspoon’s ability to “come around when something happened and … take something that escalated pretty high and bring it all the way down,” he said. “I admired her and wanted to be just like her. She’s my role model.”

Williams has worked for the Marquette University Police Department for the past year and a half. He previously worked as a security officer and ran the Racine County Explorer Post.

“I’m not new to law enforcement, just new to the official part,” he said.

A self-described jokester, Williams said he can be funny around his coworkers because of the workplace comfort level. “With Marquette you have a real family-like feeling,” he said.

MUPD Captain Jeff Kranz said Williams is a model officer. “Here at MUPD we are trying to change how policing is delivered in a large city setting,” Kranz said. “We are trying to become part of the community and not occupy the community. (Officer) Williams embodies this style of policing through both his words and his actions.”

Similarly, Williams said the most rewarding part of his job is assisting citizens.

“I love to help people,” he said. “I like seeing people come from a bad situation and giving them hope, so they know that’s not their only situation.”

When he’s not on the job, Williams is jamming to the blues or practicing his guitar.

“I like to dabble,” he said. “Every day after work I get in my car and turn my Pandora on. Music really centers me.” Williams said he especially loves the music of B.B. King and Albert King.

He also has read all the Alex Cross books by James Patterson. “That’s my character,” Williams said of the title character. “He’s a psychologist and he also works on the police department and I think, ‘Wow I could see myself being just like that.’”

Williams attended Milwaukee Area Technical College, and is interested in taking more classes while working. “I’ve always had an interest in psychology, like criminal psychology,” he said.