Black History Month: Honoring Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams, an Extraordinary Woman of Color

Posted at 7:43 AM, Feb 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-24 12:34:02-05

Jeri L. Williams was appointed Police Chief of the Phoenix Police Department on October 28, 2016. She oversees the largest police department in the State of Arizona, which is responsible for providing law enforcement services to the sixth largest city in the country. Chief Williams oversees a staff of nearly 2,900 police officers and 900 civilian employees and she manages an annual operating budget that exceeds $600 million.

From 2011 to 2016, Chief Williams served as the Police Chief for the city of Oxnard, California. In Oxnard, she managed with a focus on community based policing, oversaw the implementation of police body cameras, coordinated training on use of force, legal issues, and technology topics for more than 300 California law enforcement agencies and guided the department during several high-profile events including large-scale community protests.

Before her appointment in California, Chief Williams served 22 years with the Phoenix Police Department. She worked in nearly all divisions of the agency and rose quickly through the ranks. She retired as an Assistant Police Chief where she managed approximately 1,000 employees in various details to include the Air Support Unit, the Community Relations Bureau, four patrol precincts, the Academy, and the Special Assignments Unit (SWAT).

Chief Williams is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) and the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police (AACOP).
During Arizona's Centennial year, Chief Williams was honored as one of Arizona's 48 Most Intriguing Women by the Arizona Centennial Legacy Project, in partnership with the Arizona Historical Society and the Arizona Community Foundation for her leadership in the law enforcement profession. In 2016, Chief Williams was recognized as California Assembly District 44 Woman of the Year for her leadership and outstanding accomplishments as Chief of the Oxnard Police Department and in late 2016, President Obama appointed Chief Williams to a membership position on the Medal of Valor Review Board.

Chief Williams holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from Arizona State University and a Master's degree in Education from Northern Arizona University.