Lockhart City Council elects new police chief

The Lockhart City Council selected a new police chief. This came after Ernest Pedraza retired.

Gary Williamson is a husband, father to two boys, Star Trek fan, Mexican food lover, and the new Lockhart Police Chief.

"What drew me here was the community," Williamson said.

Williamson grew up in Galveston and graduated from Texas A&M. He said he didn’t expect to get into law enforcement full time.

"Well, I got into it, the bug bit me and that's all she wrote after that," Williamson said.

He started his law enforcement career with the Austin Airport police.

"I was actually there for the transition from Mueller to Bergstrom, so it was an exciting time. I really enjoyed working there," Williamson said.

Williamson then spent 23 years with the El Campo Police Department, starting from the bottom as a patrol officer and working his way up to chief.

"Overall, I think it makes you a more well-rounded knowing every facet of the department," Williamson said.

On April 10, Williamson was sworn in as the Lockhart Police Chief. He said since then, he’s been busy.

"I'm trying to learn the lay of the land, meeting a ton of people, going out, meeting the elected officials, community partners, the citizens, so it's been an exhausting month, but well worth it," Williamson said.

He said he believes in community-oriented policing.

"You don't want to meet somebody for the first time in a crisis," Williamson said. "We work for the citizens. We need to be responsive to their needs."

Williamson said he has two goals, recruiting and retention, and to help Lockhart police become an accredited agency.

"The Texas Police Chiefs Association has identified, it's around 170 best practices that they feel a police department should be following to ensure the best, efficient delivery of services, mitigate risks and hazards and ensure we're protecting people's civil rights, so to become accredited, you have to prove that you're following all 170 of these best practices," Williamson said. "It brings credibility."

He said he’d also like to see the K-9 unit come back, a drone program, and eventually a new Police Department.

"There are so many possibilities, especially with growth coming and with a bigger department, you can have more opportunities," Williamson said.

Williamson said he plans to help grow the department with the growing community until it’s time for him to retire.