Detective-Sergeant Devoune Williams: Serving and Protecting with Pride, Passion, and Purpose

Detective-Sergeant Devoune Williams: Serving and Protecting with Pride, Passion, and Purpose

Detective Sgt. Devoune Williams with the Tamarac District of the Broward Sheriff’s Office. {courtesy}

By Faran Fagen

He often jokes that he wears two uniforms, one is black (his skin) and the other blue (his uniform).

As a Black detective sergeant, Devoune Williams harbors a lot of pride in serving his community.

“I know the struggles of many who have paved the way and paid a price for me to be here,” said Williams of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Tamarac District. “My uncle and mentors endured discrimination and other societal impediments. Those are the reasons I am here today.”

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Williams, 49, was inspired to join the force by his uncle, a Miami police officer (retired after 38 years) and a mentor who was a District Commander for the Miami-Dade Police Department.

However, the most influential reason for him becoming a law enforcement officer was living through two major Miami riots in the 80s and early 90s. He knew the deceased subjects, who died at the hands of the police.

“Those two experiences really compelled me to want to become a police officer,” said Williams, who now lives in Miramar. “I thought I could foster the respect and service my community needed.”

A former winner of Detective of the Year, Williams’ primary role at the Broward Sheriff’s Office Tamarac District is to oversee the Criminal Investigations Unit, which consists of eight employees, including six detectives and two civilians.

His responsibilities also include reviewing every written report within the Tamarac District and vetting them for quality/soundness. He takes on special assignments that sometimes may not always fall within the parameters of law enforcement, training, and mentoring deputies, establishing/maintaining community relations, and overall quality control in regard to the management of law enforcement action/services undertaken in Tamarac.

Being Detective Sergeant, a title he’s held since 2020, gives him the opportunity to mentor and forge the Agency’s next generation of great detectives and supervisors.

As a member of the Violent Crimes Unit for ten years prior, he was able to bring to justice some of Broward’s most violent suspects.  

Williams said he thinks about “who and what I am” every single day, not just in February.

“I was raised with the concept of Black History 365, meaning Black History is every day, not just for a month,” Williams said. “Equally important, I was raised with the belief that Black History is American History.”

Though he was born on a tiny dual island nation, St. Kitts and Nevis, Williams was mostly raised in Miami’s historic Overtown community.

His wife, a veteran Broward Schools educator, was born in Antigua and grew up in Overtown. Their families have known each other ever since they moved to the Miami neighborhood. They attended the same elementary, middle, and high schools.

They’ve been married for 23 years and have a 21-year-old daughter who is a pre-med college student. Williams himself graduated from Miami-Dade College with an Associate in Science (Legal Assistance/Paralegal).

Tamarac Captain Jeffrey Cirminiello, who was Williams’ very first sergeant, along with Captain Warner Phillips, recruited Williams to head up the Tamarac Criminal Investigations Unit.

“As my then sergeant, Captain Cirminiello has always taken genuine stock in the people around him,” Williams said. “He runs an “each-one-teach-one” concept and is a great teacher. Captain Phillips is also a mentor who insists on my personal and professional growth for a brighter future within the Agency and beyond.”

Cirminiello thinks just as highly of Williams.

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“Detective Sergeant Devoune Williams embodies the best qualities of a law enforcement officer,” Cirminiello said. “He’s smart, dedicated, and passionate about his job while always putting others before himself.”

Williams lives by the Akan concept of Sankofa, which is represented by a bird looking backward while holding an egg in its mouth or carrying an egg on its back.

“The egg represents the young or next generation, and the bird looking back represents history or reaching back to guide forth the next generation,” Williams said. “The word Sankofa basically means that ‘it is not wrong to reach back into your past, to bring forth what you need for the present and future.’”

For Williams, black history is more of a compass than a cudgel.

“Black history orients me to the places I’ve been, to where I am today, and still must go tomorrow (as a people),” Williams said. “All history is current, and anyone having knowledge of self, while exuding pride, will have an appreciation for all of humanity. A people who truly know themselves, love themselves, and will love others.”

In 2004, when Williams left his job as a Paralegal at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office for the Broward Police academy, and helped to create a unit that could be considered the State Attorney’s Office version of “Community Policing.”

In conjunction with the Miami-Dade Public Defenders’ Office, and Legal Aid Society, Williams assisted with the creation and launch of a campaign to restore the rights of eligible people who had criminal histories—an effort to help them rebuild their lives

“Community and policing are like a mother to a child—inseparable,” Williams said.

In this unit, Williams reported to a single assistant attorney and had to conduct legal research, which gave him the skill to search and retrieve essential information.

In this assignment, he learned the administrative side of law enforcement and got to know the criminal justice system. This fast-tracked him to becoming a detective, slightly under the Broward Sheriff’s Office’s two-year requirement as a uniform road patrolman.

“Despite the challenging nature of his job, Sgt. Williams never loses sight of his moral compass and always strives to uphold his high standards and compassion for people,” Cirminiello said. “We’re truly lucky to have him protecting our residents here in Tamarac.”

However, if you ask Williams, the attributes that have gotten him this far are humility and humbleness.

“My mother always used to say to me, ‘Son, you may not have a lot of money, but good manners, humility, respect, hard work, and confidence will take you all around the world and back.’”

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Author Profile

Faran Fagen
Faran Fagen
Faran Fagen, who teaches high school journalism, graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Journalism degree and from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in Education. He's worked at The Palm Beach Post, SunSentinel, and He lives in Coral Springs with his wife and two children. Oh, and his three dogs -- who all think that they're his favorite.