Tim Williams '85
Director of Interpol Washington (International Criminal Police Organization)
"Knowing that you can make a difference by providing a community, a town, a city, a state, and the country a safer place to live—that’s a great thing to take home at night."
Although he had been a U.S. Marshal since 1986, Tim Williams ’85 was shocked by the scene at the World Trade Center Complex on September 11, 2001. Earlier that morning, he and fellow federal law-enforcement officers had rushed in to help with the search and rescue efforts. “It looked like a war zone—something I’d seen in movies, but not in real life,” he explains. “I took it very personally.”
A few days later, Williams was asked to lead a multi-agency task force to investigate the hijackers’ communications. For the rest of the year, he worked 16 to 20 hours a day, seven days a week. The work paid off when task force findings led to the arrests of the hijackers’ associates around the world.
Williams’ leadership skills were called upon again in 2006, when he was nominated to serve as Deputy Director of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) in Washington, which facilitates cooperation between America’s 18,000 law-enforcement agencies and the 187 other member countries of Interpol. In 2009, he was sworn in as Director of Interpol’s U.S. operations—a position he will hold until 2012. As director, he works with the heads of other nations’ central bureaus and with leaders of U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Williams says he honed his leadership skills at Moravian as a student-athlete. Playing varsity football and intramural sports helped foster the teamwork and people skills that have been essential for his success in law enforcement. His Moravian experiences also instilled “the importance of a strong work ethic—you have to work hard to get what you want.” As an undergraduate criminal justice major with a full course load, he worked as a teaching assistant in the student affairs office and, during school breaks, in a factory in his hometown.
Leadership and service to one’s community is challenging work but the rewards are great, he says: “Knowing that every day you can make a difference by providing a community, a town, a city, a state, and the country a safer place to live. I think that’s a great thing to take home at night.”