Q&A: Outgoing London, Ont. police Chief Steve Williams on his career, what awaits next top cop – London
London, Ontario Police Chief Steve Williams will conclude his time as the city’s top cop later this week, bringing an end to a 30-year police career.
Williams has sparked a search for a successor by announcing that he will retire from the police force in October 2022 after serving as London’s police chief since 2019.
Trish McIntyre is set to become London’s first female police chief.
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His retirement isn’t effective until May 1, but Williams’ last day in office is this week as a result of unpaid hours. Williams has been with the unit since 1992 and has served in a variety of positions, including foot patrol, detective, and deputy commissioner.
Prior to the final day, Williams spoke with 980 CFPL. Devon Peacock Morning Show We look at his police career, his time as London’s police chief, and the challenges that lie ahead for the city’s next top cop.
The interview has been slightly edited for clarity.
Do you have plans to retire?
it’s not. I keep my options open and my biggest plan right now is to get some sleep. And believe it or not, I’m going to take my parents out to lunch. I want to take a few breaths and see where life takes me.
I envy you partially asleep, right? When you started the police, did you ever dream of becoming a police chief?
I never dreamed of becoming a police chief. I joined him in 1992 and have been fortunate enough to work in many different areas. mobile patrol. I was on patrol for a while. I was a detective for several years. I also worked for a company. As I moved through the organization, I was very fortunate to work with wonderful people who taught me a lot and opened doors for me. It’s been a tough road, but you know, I really think that I became chief thanks to the people who came before me and gave me the opportunity, but what I actually planned was No. But I’m here today.
Aside from your time as chief, is there anything that left an impression on you after you retired?
Well, I mean, when I was a major crimes detective. I won’t go into specific cases, but there were some cases that remained unsolved. I still know the investigators in that office. I still work on it from time to time when information comes in. I’m thinking about those cases. Some of them aren’t great memories, but there are many that are very positive.
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During your tenure as Chief of Police, you had a lot to deal with. One of the biggest problems, the hardest problems to deal with, did he ever come to mind?
It’s interesting because I’ve been asked that way before. And, you know, his four years were very interesting. Besides the clearly unpredictable COVID, it was challenging…. But we also faced some big incidents.The murder of the Afzar family comes to mind.There were a few others.What is happening to our city with poverty and homelessness. I am very proud of our service and the way women and men stood up and met those challenges, but it was a challenge. we are still standing
And credit goes to everyone, from my senior executive team to the front line, communications operators, and fleet management staff. So, despite all these challenges, we’ve done an amazing job together over the past four years.
No one knows what the future holds, but what do you see today as one of the biggest challenges your successor will have to deal with?
yeah that’s a great question. So most people are now aware of our staffing situation and we have a plan in place approved by our board of directors. It’s up to the next chief. This will get you where you need to be. This is because the front line is being hit hard by understaffing.
In London, needless to say, it is difficult to recruit police officers alone. People are not as interested in policing as they used to be. So we continue to look for great people who have great dispute resolution skills, are great communicators, speak different languages and things like that. So there are challenges in that area. In fact, we need to keep looking for better ways to do business so that we can use data to inform activity and police smarter. . We often hear the term evidence-based policing. we’ve done a lot about it. We have passionate people in the field, but we need to keep pushing it forward.
Why do you think fewer people want to become police officers these days?
Well, I think it comes down to really wanting to help people and make a difference. But looking back, I feel that I have made a difference in the community, especially in light of the challenges we have faced over the past four years. I think there are still people out there who just want to make a difference, who want to help people, and we want to employ those people.
Before he became chief, he was a deputy chief. The role of police chief he has held in-house since 1998. I know you are involved in hiring a successor, but do you think the National Police Agency should hire your successor from within the company?
Well, I know the board has to do its due diligence. They look far and wide, including external searches and internal candidate research. All I can say is that myself and my previous chief spent a lot of time mentoring and developing internal candidates. Within the ranks are future Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs who will serve for years to come.
We look forward to it, and congratulations on your retirement, Chief.
Thank you very much, Devon. appreciate.