Dr. Heather Williams is a Resilience Instructor with expertise in developing peer support programs and resilience training for public-safety agencies.
Prior to joining 911TI, Dr. Williams was a Program Director with Community Service Programs, Inc. (CSP), Victim Assistance Programs for 14 years and oversaw all special victim programs, which included Homicide, Sexual Assault, Gangs and Domestic Violence. She created the CSP Crisis Response Team after responding to an active shooter incident in 2003. As the coordinator of the Crisis Response Team, Dr. Williams spent years leading a team and responding to countless critical incidents to mitigate the trauma experienced by victims, witnesses and the community. During a call involving a 3-year-old child who died, she was asked to speak to the officer who performed CPR. Dr. Williams quickly recognized the immediate impact of a critical incident on public-safety and the ripple effect started with dispatchers, the "first-first responders."
Dr. Williams quickly learned that dispatchers were often the last to be remembered, the first to be forgotten and there was a disconnect between civilian and sworn personnel. As a result, she set out to change the culture of public-safety, reminding them of the human element in this work that, "It's ok to not be ok." In 2014, the Orange County Sheriff's Department (CA) hired her as their first Regional Peer Support Coordinator after she helped the agency develop its peer support program. She led a team of almost 100 personnel (sworn and professional staff). Dr. Williams also co-founded the Orange County Association of Peer Supporters (OCAPS) and worked in partnership with police departments to provide mutual aid when their agency was compromised.
After five years with the Orange County Sheriff's Department, Dr. Williams elected to take her passion to another level in 2019 and established Premier First Responder Psychological Services. As a licensed psychologist, Dr. Williams is committed to serve and protect public-safety and their family members by providing exceptional, culturally competent services. She provides individual, couples and EMDR therapy, 24/7 crisis response services, critical incident debriefings, peer support program development, oversight, conference presentations, training classes, consultation and active shooter response and recovery coordination/crisis response services.
Dr. Williams holds a Doctorate degree in Psychology from California Southern University, a Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Chapman University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach.