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Apr 5, 2022

Chief of Law Enforcement exits after 34 years with Polk County Sheriff’s Office to serve as the next CEO of Peace River Center

Media Contact: Brian Bruchey, PIO

After 34-years with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Larry Williams, Jr., the Chief of the Department of Law Enforcement is leaving the agency to accept the Chief Executive Officer position at the Peace River Center. After entering into the Florida Retirement System’s Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP), Williams was preparing to officially retire based on his years of service, but then came an opportunity with the Peace River Center.

Following a national executive search that began in December of 2021 to replace the retiring CEO Bill Gardam, the PRC’s Board of Directors unanimously chose 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 by the PRC’s Board of Directors. After a long, successful career with us, he entered into the DROP, but a person with his background doesn’t just stop. He still has so much to offer.” Grady Judd, Sheriff

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

Williams began his career with the PCSO back in 1988 as a part time deputy sheriff, and finishes as the agency’s Chief of the Department of Law Enforcement and a member of Sheriff Grady Judd’s Executive Staff. 

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

Williams will officially begin as CEO at Peace River Center on May 2, 2022. 

Peace River Center (PRC) is a 501(C)(3) not-for-profit organization striving to impact the lives of our clients and the community we serve by engaging, restoring, and empowering individuals to reach their fullest potential by offering a broad range of mental health, victim services and substance use disorder services throughout Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties.

Peace River Center’s mission is to engage, restore, and empower individuals in our community to reach their fullest potential. The vision of Peace River Center is to be a Center of Excellence for building emotional wellness.

—From the Peace River Center website. For more information go to