Williams Combines Police, Ministry and Counseling Experience
By Jill Gambon
UMass Lowell’s first-ever police chaplain Frederick Williams understands the demands of police work. A former police officer, Williams has experienced the stress and pressures that come with a career in law enforcement. Now pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Manchester, N.H., and a therapist, Williams has the insight and training to support and assist members of the University’s police force.
“I understand cops. I know what they are up against and the things they struggle with,” says Williams, who graduated from UMass Lowell with bachelor’s degree in a criminal justice in 1982.
University Police Chief Randy Brashears decided to bring a chaplain on board to provide a resource for officers dealing with the stresses of the job. He worked with chaplains in previous positions and appreciates the benefits they bring to a department.
“It was important to find the right person for this position who could relate to the staff. We were fortunate to find a clergyman with prior police experience,” Brashears says. “This is an awesome fit and he has done a wonderful job.”
Williams started in the volunteer position about 18 months ago. He is available for the officers as needed and participates in official events, such as the department’s annual awards ceremony. He has been accompanying officers on patrol to get to know them.
After earning his bachelor’s degree, Williams worked as a police officer for 15 years. While on the job, he decided to go to seminary school.
“It was God’s calling for my life,” he says.
With three master’s degrees in hand and the bulk of the work done on a second doctorate, education has also been a calling. He earned a master of divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School, a master’s in counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a master’s in social work from Boston College and a doctorate of ministry from Luther Rice Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., where he is also an adjunct professor.
“I love learning,” he says.
In addition to his duties as pastor, Williams counsels patients in a private therapy practice in Manchester. His goal as chaplain is to have a positive impact on the character and integrity of the department and to elevate morale in a profession that can be physically and emotionally demanding.
“I want the officers to know that they are supported,” he says.
Williams says his alma mater looks far different than it did when he was a student here. The construction of new dorms, new academic and research buildings on North and South campus, as well as the acquisition of the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center and the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell are transforming the campus.
“It’s been great coming back. The reputation of the school has grown,” he says.