Winona Police Chief, Tom Williams, is a Winona native through and through. His father, Chuck Williams, was a household name as the “Voice of Winona Athletics” on KWNO radio for 40 years. Chuck probably broadcast his son’s name many times, as Tom played in school and community sports.

At St. Mary’s University in Winona, where Tom continued his education after graduation from Cotter High School, he earned a BA in Criminal Justice Law Enforcement, graduating in 1984. He joined the Winona Police Department in 1987.

When Tom joined the police force a few years after graduating from St. Mary’s, his name was already familiar to most Winonans.

Tom is married to fellow Winonan and Cotter alum Linda Gierok, and they have three daughters, Aubrey, Allyssa, and Abby. Linda was employed by the Winona Police Department as a patrol officer for 15 years, before retiring to stay home and raise the girls.

Tom was set to retire as Deputy Chief after 33 years with the force when the Chief, Paul Bostrack, announced that he was retiring and recommending Tom lead the force as Police Chief.

In an interview with the Winona Post, Tom said, “It’s an opportunity I’ve wanted forever.” He said that he was never one to shy away from a challenge and leading the force and working with the 43 employees of the department would be an honor. When people asked him why he would take on the job when he had been ready to retire and when times were very tough and negative for law enforcement, he replied, “Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of shaping the future of law enforcement?”

His years of public service and intimate knowledge of the Winona area make Tom a valuable HCO Board Member. He said, “I have been blessed to work in a community that provides so much support to public servants and serving on the HCO Board is one way to thank the community that has given me so much over the years.” He continued, “Without a doubt, the employees of HCO are what drives my passion to serve on the Board. The love, compassion, and dedication that they show to the organization, and most importantly the clients, are what I am most proud of.”