Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams to retire from post this summer
PHOENIX — Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams announced Tuesday she will retire this summer after nearly six years of leading the department.
Williams, the first woman police chief in Phoenix’s history, was appointed in October 2016.
“After much prayer and consideration and in consultation with my family and city leadership, I have decided to make a change,” Williams said in a statement.
“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.”
Williams’ announcement comes as her department is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice over potential civil rights violations and abuses of power.
The review was opened in August and is looking into the police department’s use-of-force practices among other things.
The city said it intends to hire an interim chief from outside the department to guide it through the DOJ investigation.
A nationwide search for a permanent replacement will happen at a later date.
No final date for Williams was immediately announced.
“Chief Williams has devoted her professional career to the city she loves,” City Manager Jeff Barton said in a press release.
“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.”
Williams has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience and started with Phoenix Police in 1989.
She spent 22 years in Phoenix before taking on the chief of police role in Oxnard, California, in 2011.