Heather Williams, PsyD
Vice President & Director of Peer Support and Mental Health
Heather Williams was a Program Director with CSP Victim Assistance Programs for 14 years and oversaw all special victim programs which included Homicide, Sexual Assault, Gangs, and Domestic Violence. After responding to an active shooter event in 2003 in Irvine, CA she created the CSP Crisis Response Team.
As the coordinator of the Crisis Response Team, Heather spent years responding to countless critical incidents to mitigate the trauma experienced by victims, witnesses and the community. In 2011, she responded to the Salon Meritage active shooter incident in Seal Beach, CA. In 2014, after developing the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Peer Support Program, Heather was hired as their first Regional Peer Support Coordinator. Heather coordinated a team of almost 100 OCSD personnel, responded to critical incidents 24/7 and coordinated an emotional wellness campaign.
Heather co-founded the Orange County Association of Peer Supporters (OCAPS) after recognizing the impact of a critical incident or LODD that compromises an entire department. She works in partnership with police departments countywide to coordinate mutual aid when an agency is compromised.
After spending 5 years with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department as the Regional Peer Support Coordinator, Heather elected to take her passion to another level and in 2019, established Premier First Responder Psychological Services. As a licensed psychologist, Heather is providing culturally competent services to individuals and couples and assists public safety professionals with treatment in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Additionally, Heather assists public safety departments develop and sustain peer support programs, provides 24/7 critical incident response, facilitates a 2-step model of critical incident debriefing and active shooter response and recovery coordination/response services.
Heather provides training as a trainer/consultant with Embassy Consulting Services to all populations in public safety, criminal justice and medical personnel on a number of topics including, but not limited to; The Impact of Trauma, Building Resiliency, POST Certified Basic Peer Support Course and a 1-day POST Certified Critical Incident Response for Peer Support Course. Heather also speaks at conferences and to police and fire academies about the stressors and traumas of public safety with the goal of building resiliency.
Heather is a Peace Officer Standards & Training (POST) certified instructor, has her BA Degree in Psychology, MA Degree in Criminal Justice, and a PsyD in Psychology. Heather is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Director of Mental Health Services for Halos4Heroes, a nonprofit serving first responders, and is the Vice President/Director of Peer Support & Mental Health for the National Law Enforcement Cancer Support Foundation.
On a personal note, Heather’s mom died from breast cancer in 2007. There is nothing in life that prepares us for the death of a parent. Being there for others during their most difficult time is about wanting to help build resiliency and pay it forward. After all, that is what her mom showed her throughout her lifetime.