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2016 Men of the Year Honoree: Paul Williams

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Perhaps you’ve seen him, the uniformed guy ready to chat at his 7 a.m. monthly Coffee with the Chief. You’ve definitely seen him on TV.

Since joining the Springfield Police Department six years ago, Police Chief Paul Williams has made engagement a priority.

When he relocated to the Ozarks in 2010, Williams was a retired major in the Tulsa Police Department for which he worked for 29 years.

“Being selected as the chief of police for Springfield was the culmination of a career long goal and verification of my talents, skills and abilities to lead a group of professional law enforcement men and women in providing police services and protecting an entire community,” he says.

It didn’t take long for Williams to put his stamp on SPD.

During the last six years, he initiated a strategic planning process resulting in the establishment of department wide goals and objectives within a three-year plan, and he reorganized the staffing and structure to make more effective use of its most valuable resource – the men and women who serve.

Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, a master’s degree in criminal justice administration, and he’s a graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy. Under him, the number of SPD employees earning higher-education degrees has increased.

“I’m a firm believer in succession planning, offering opportunities to others and encouraging those around me to always seek to better themselves. Success in policing is centered on three things: experience, training and education,” Williams says.

“I have embraced the philosophy of lifelong learning and expect the same from my staff.”

His civic involvement is extensive. Williams has sat on United Way of the Ozarks’ board, is a founding member of Code 3 Sertoma, is on the Community Partnership of the Ozarks board and is involved with Zone Blitz. The city’s effort to address issues affecting Zone 1 in northwest Springfield is an initiative that had its genesis in a meeting where Williams showed the connection between crime statistics and poverty indicators.

He has held several positions on the executive board of the Missouri Police Chiefs Association and is its current president.

Williams is a governor’s appointee on the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission and helped lead recent efforts to improve training for law enforcement across the state. He has been a member of the executive committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police that represents more than 25,000 police leaders worldwide and has also served in a leadership role for ICAP’s Midsize Agencies Section for departments serving populations between 50,000 and 500,000.

Last year, Williams was honored by his peers as the 2015 Police Chief of the Year for Missouri.

“While everyone seems to want the chief of police as a member of their board, I have chosen to limit my official involvement and often recommend others on my staff,” Williams says. “SPD benefits by furthering our connections to the community.”

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