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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: May 6, 2016 02:40 PM
From: Representative W. Curtis Thomas
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution honoring the life and service of Willie L.Williams, the first African American police chief in Philadelphia
In the near future I plan to introduce legislation honoring the life and service of Willie Lawrence Williams. Mr. Williams was born in Philadelphia on October 1, 1943. He was the son of a carpenter who also worked as a meat packer. The eldest of 7 children, he was raised in the Overbook section of Philadelphia.
Mr. Williams started his law enforcement career on February 10, 1964 when he became a Fairmount Park Guard. When the park police later merged with the Philadelphia Police Department, Willie rose quickly through the ranks. Eventually, he became a deputy commissioner and a protégé of Commissioner Kevin M. Tucker.
Mayor Goode, at the recommendation of Commissioner Tucker, appointed Mr. Williams to replace Mr. Tucker as Commissioner in 1988. Under his tenure, Williams worked to improve relationships between the African American Community and the Philadelphia Police Department which had been strained by complaints of use of excessive force in the 1980's. He established mini- police stations in the community to help decentralize the department. He doubled the number of African American police officers with the rank of captain or inspector. As a testament to his work, when violence erupted in other cities after the 1992 Rodney King verdict, all was calm in Philadelphia.
Although he left Philadelphia in 1992 to become the first African American Police chief in Los Angeles, his legacy has never been forgotten.

Please join me in sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HR876