CLEVELAND - Cleveland police officers and law enforcement from across the country are getting rave reviews for keeping the peace during the Republican National Convention, and the leadership of Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams has been shining under the spotlight.
Williams was the face of calm amid downtown protests, in the thick of the action. He traded in his white commander uniform for a bicycle and was constantly on the move.
“It’s a good way to get around. I can get around everywhere on this thing,” he said. “I can’t do that in my car.”
Keeping an ear to his radio and an eye on the crowd, Williams moved seamlessly between greeting protesters and guiding his officers.
“I like to be out so I can touch it, feel it, smell it; see what's going on, talk to my commanders face to face and then we make decisions like that,” he said.
As protests moved, so did Chief Williams. He was there to keep the peace and make peace, even joining an impromptu prayer vigil on Public Square Wednesday. Police and demonstrators shared the moment together.
“Trump supporters, Hillary supporters, anarchy guys over there. Everybody just came and joined in and we had a nice prayer,” Williams said.
Williams remained modest about his own role, instead crediting thousands of other officers in Cleveland along with Chief Deputies Wayne Drummond and Ed Tomba.
“We have a lot of good people doing a lot of work. Our thing is keep people safe,” Williams said. “Just trying to do the job that I swore to do.”
Williams still managed to take a moment to pose for pictures with officers visiting from as far as California, and he thanked them by exchanging special RNC police challenge coins with them.
“We have nothing, but good things to say about Cleveland PD,” California Highway Patrol Sgt. Eric Nolte said.
With the pressure on, the leader of Cleveland Police delivered.