Jeri Williams is first woman to head up Phoenix Police Dept.

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Jeri Williams to be named new Phoenix police chief (Source: City of Oxnard Police Dept.) Jeri Williams to be named new Phoenix police chief (Source: City of Oxnard Police Dept.)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The City of Phoenix confirms Jeri Williams, police chief in Oxnard, CA, will be named next Phoenix chief. She will be the first female to hold that job in the city's history.

Williams will start the job in October.

She will replace Joseph Yahner, who is retiring. He was appointed Phoenix's police chief in February 2015.

In a statement, the City said: "Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher has chosen Jeri Williams as the new Phoenix Police Chief, effective October 2016. Williams was chosen from a national recruitment that included some of the nation’s most qualified law enforcement leaders."  

Williams has been the chief of police with the Oxnard Police Department since January 2011.

Prior to becoming the police chief in Oxnard, Williams rose through the ranks of the Phoenix Police Department, where she retired as the assistant chief of the Southern Division. She was responsible for 1,000 sworn and civilian personnel and more than half of the city's 500-plus square miles.

Williams holds a BS degree from Arizona State University, a master's degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University, where she has also completed her comprehensive examinations in pursuit of her doctorate in educational leadership.

Williams is said to be well-known as approachable and sincere, with a natural command presence upon which members of the community and department can rely to "get the job done" with integrity, hard work and dedication.

She comes back to the department at the same time as many police agencies around the country are facing scrutiny by their communities regarding officer-involved shootings of African-American men.

Back in June, Williams participated in a candidate forum where she discussed her take on the Black Lives Matter movement and police use of force.

“But it’s more than just the de-escalation of force; it’s also about making relationships and connections with the community because if the community trusts you to be just and fair you will be less likely to use more force than you would have,” said Williams.  

The current chief makes just less than $200,000 a year. The Phoenix City Manager's Office says Williams' salary is still being decided. 

On a personal note, Williams has been married to her husband, Judge Cody Williams (South Phoenix justice of the peace) for 24 years and has two college-age sons, Alan and Cody.

Seven community meetings were held in Phoenix to get input from business and community leaders, neighborhood groups and other key stakeholders on what they think were important traits for the new Phoenix police chief. In addition, a community survey was conducted to gather input from the community on the skills and attributes most desired in the next leader of the Phoenix Police Department. 

[READ MORE: Only 3 still in running to become Phoenix chief of police]

A news conference will be held Thursday at City Hall to formally introduce Williams as the new chief. 

Mayor Greg Stanton released the following statement regarding the announcement:

“Phoenix was blessed with stellar candidates to step into the very large shoes of Chief Joe Yahner, but I could not be happier that Jeri Williams will be our next Chief of Police. I worked with Jeri for many years during her time as an Assistant Chief here in Phoenix, and I know her as a consummate professional whose commitment to good police work is unparalleled.  She rose through the ranks of the Phoenix Police Department, and has earned the respect of her colleagues and the communities she has served in every role she’s had, from foot patrol to command.  I know she will do an exceptional job leading the best police department in America.”  

You can read Williams' full biography and see her resume https://www.phoenix.gov/documents/phx_police_chief_announement.pdfhere. .

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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