Jeri Williams will retire after 11 years as Phoenix police chief

Above: Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams, who grew up in West Phoenix, attends community events to build relationships. (Photo by Jenna Miller/Cronkite News) Business News | 4 May |

Police Chief Jeri Williams has informed Phoenix city leadership she intends to retire after an impressive 33-year career in law enforcement.

“After much prayer and consideration and in consultation with my family and city leadership, I have decided to make a change,” said Chief Williams. “There is never a perfect time to transition but the time feels right for me now to step aside. Just like when I felt called to do this job, I also feel called right now to go in a new direction, allowing me the rare opportunity to prioritize family and explore future endeavors.”


READ ALSO: Most Influential Women: Jeri Williams, City of Phoenix


Williams started her career with the Phoenix Police Department in 1989, working the same streets she grew up on with fellow Maryvale High School classmate and recently retired Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner. Williams worked through the ranks eventually becoming an Assistant Chief before moving to Oxnard California in 2011 to serve as the Police Chief. She returned to the Phoenix Police Department in 2016 as Police Chief.

“Chief Williams has devoted her professional career to the city she loves,” said City Manager Jeff Barton. “Her passion for this community, her leadership through challenging times and her commitment to reforming and evolving the Phoenix Police Department will be missed as she makes this decision to retire.”

In a retirement announcement​, Chief Williams notes some of the accomplishments she’s most proud of during the last nearly six years as Phoenix Police Chief, which includes everything from becoming fully compliant with the requirements for #8CANTWAIT to something as simple as getting cell phones for officers. Other noted accomplishments include:

• Body Worn Cameras

• Documenting every time an officer points a weapon at someone

• Implementing less lethal response to encounters which has prevented some officer-involved shootings

• Obtaining a new records management system

• Standard processes like updating policies and procedures to mirror the changing expectations and demands of the community

• Being transparent by showing the public Critical Incident Videos in 14-days or less

Chief Williams also included one of her biggest priorities, the building of relationships with the community, among employees and with peers throughout the Phoenix area, the state of Arizona and the country.  She shared her most rewarding work has been the honor and privilege to serve as the leader of the amazing group of men and women, sworn and non-sworn, in the Phoenix Police Department.

Williams has committed to continue to lead the department while city leadership identify the right individual to temporarily take the helm of the State’s largest law enforcement agency.  City Manager Jeff Barton intends to hire an external interim chief, someone who will not be the permanent chief but instead will guide the department through the currently open Department of Justice civil pattern or practice investigation. A nation-wide search for a permanent replacement will happen at a later date.​

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