CLEVELAND (WJW) – Moments after Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams announced he would be stepping down Jan. 3, he told the FOX 8 I-Team that he had made the decision months ago, but decided Thursday morning it was time to tell his officers.
“I decided on my way to the awards ceremony I would tell the officers,” Williams said.
He said he made the decision to leave his position shortly after Mayor Frank Jackson decided he would not be seeking re-election.
Williams made the announcement during a police awards ceremony and became emotional.
“I love this city,” the chief said during the interview. “I loved working here. It’s been 35 years.”
The chief admitted the last seven years have not been easy. He said the death of officers while on duty, as well as the police-involved shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, were some of his toughest days.
“The pain was almost unbearable,” Williams said.
He did say he is extremely proud of all of his officers and he doesn’t think people realize how much work they do on a daily basis.
“I can’t say it enough,” Williams said. “They do an outstanding job under very difficult circumstances day in and day out. They need the support of the people of this city.”