Chief Williams reflecting on the RNC: ‘Cleveland is on the rise’

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- It's been one year since Cleveland played host to the Republican National Convention.

The event went off without a hitch, and really helped put Cleveland on the map.

It also put Chief Calvin Williams, Cleveland Division of Police, in the national spotlight.

He stopped by Fox 8 News in the Morning on Wednesday to reflect on the RNC.

The biggest lessons

"I think the biggest lesson that we all learned here in Northeast Ohio is don't believe the hype." Williams said of all the doubters leading up to the convention. "There was this pandemonium about what's going to happen, about how the city's going to be crazy."

"We knew we were (prepared)," he said.

"It just goes to show you do your tactical planning, you put the right people in the right places, you do all the training and you rely on that," he said.

The bike stuff

When Cleveland was named host city for the RNC, the feds gave millions of dollars to beef up security. Part of that money went to buy hundreds of bicycles for the police department.

"The bikes were a great hit," Williams said. "They're a great asset."

"That was one of the greatest tools that we used for the RNC. They were mobile. They could be used as sort of a skirmish line to keep people separated and things like that. And our bike officers were right there with folks."

Williams said the 300 bikes the city bought are still being used to help get officers out into the neighborhoods. He said they're also used at events where large numbers of people gather like Indians, Browns, and Cavaliers games.

"The bikes are definitely part of the division," he said.

Once-in-a-lifetime event

Right after the RNC, Williams told Fox 8 that it was one of the highlights of his career. A year later, he feels the same way.

"You really can't dismiss the importance of an event like that," Williams said. "It is a once-in-a-lifetime event for a police officer."

Williams did admit the Cavaliers Championship Parade was "the highlight" since it was handled solely by Cleveland Police.

The RNC was a partnership with the FBI, Secret Service, and other police agencies from around Northeast Ohio, Ohio, and the United States.

What's next for Williams?

He plans to continue he role as police chief, but he is looking to the future.

"I plan to do what I need to do the next few years, and retire, and just go out and enjoy my family and relax," Williams said.

Williams said if Mayor Frank Jackson is reelected, he will continue to serve as police chief.

What's next for Cleveland?

"This town is resilient," Williams said. "Most towns are only as good as the people in it."

"I think Cleveland is on the rise or else I wouldn't be here," he said.

**A look back at the RNC in pictures here**