Sitting in the Merced College Police Department office, new Captain Matt Williams reminisces about his childhood and growing up on a farm outside of Merced. He said his father’s influence underscores his outlook on working in public service and being a valuable employee.

“From the time we were old enough, we were working,” Williams explains. “We grew up in a military family and we were raised to put forth our best effort in everything we did, be it school or otherwise.”

That drive has led Williams to wear many different hats over the years. He’s added one more as the Merced College Police Captain, replacing Tom Trinidad, who retired at the beginning of the school year.

Williams comes from the City of Merced Police Department, where he worked in various areas of law enforcement -- including Special Operations -- for twenty nine years. While joining Merced College is a change of pace for him, he said that working here is like returning home.

Like many of Merced College’s current students, Williams grew up around agri-business while helping with his family farm. After joining the military out of high school, and spending four years as an Army Ranger, he returned to Merced College in search of an Associate’s Degree while working graveyard shifts at Merced PD in 2001. Earning a degree was key in obtaining his first promotion on the force.

“At the Department, without a degree, you can’t move forward,” Williams said. “I knew that if I wanted that promotion, I needed to get my degree.”

Having endured similar schedules to those of the students he now protects, Williams feels a kinship with them. The knowledge that these students are not only attending school, but also pushing themselves, as he did, allows for better communication between himself and others on campus. His personal experience of the perseverance, discipline and fortitude current students practice motivates him in his role as chief of the campus police.

“We’re all here for the students.” Williams said, “An educated society is less likely to be involved with law enforcement, but when they are, we want to make sure that it’s positive and that they leave a situation feeling better than when they came.”