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My NC State Story: Adrian Z. Williams (Political Science ‘87, MALS ‘08)

headshot of Adrian Williams

Since an early age, I have wanted a career in law enforcement and to become a writer.  After fulfilling a childhood dream to attend NC State, I took the skills and confidence I gained and crafted a career that I am very proud of. In 1986, NC State provided me with the opportunity to intern with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI),  a learning experience that confirmed this was the organization I wanted to be a part of. After stints with the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office and North Carolina Adult Probation and Parole, I landed my dream job as a special agent with the SBI. For the next 17 years, I specialized in investigations ranging from crime scenes and methamphetamine labs to human trafficking and homicides.

After advancing to assistant special agent in charge (ASAC) of the Fayetteville district office, I was blessed to work several high profile cases that provided a platform for greater things to come. One case I led was the Sept. 2016 officer-involved-shooting investigation of Keith Lamont Scott that was initiated after days of unrest and riotous behavior marring Charlotte’s image and making national headlines. With 62 SBI agents at my disposal and the help of multiple federal and state agencies, I completed my report in several weeks and the police officers involved were cleared of any wrongdoing.

After retiring from the SBI in 2017, I began a second career as chief of police in Johnston County. Wilson’s Mills is a small town adjacent to Clayton, N.C. Just 30 minutes from downtown Raleigh, my new community is on the verge of extreme growth and opportunities. 

In June 2019, I published my first book, Forty Minutes To Baton Rouge: The Story of Robert “Bo” Rein, a project that I worked on for many years. The 335-page book chronicles the life and tragic death of LSU head football coach Robert “Bo” Rein at age 34. This story was of interest to me because of its NC State nexus. If the name Bo Rein sounds familiar, it is because he was NC State’s head football coach from 1976 through the end of the 1979 season. The book has been a resounding success among those who remember Bo Rein and the Wolfpack family. Thank you, NC State!

SBI retiree Adrian Z. Williams is chief of police in Wilson’s Mills, North Carolina.