Philly councilmembers remember Willie Williams

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Willie Williams in shown in 1995 in Los Angeles

Willie Williams in shown in 1995 in Los Angeles

A Philadelphia Police Department trailblazer has died.

Former Police Commissioner Willie Williams was the city’s first African-American police commissioner. Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell says Williams brought a different attitude to the force.

“He cared about all people, and everyone respected him,” she said. “It didn’t matter what race you were, what neighborhood he lived in. He was a good person. He expected his people to act decently and care about people. And when you have that tone from the top, it makes all the difference in the world.”

Council President Darrell Clarke says Williams opened the door for others as the city’s top cop.

“You create an environment,” he said. “Once that person takes that job and does a good job, there’s no question about any successors of a particular race or a particular gender.”

Williams went on from Philadelphia’s department to run the Los Angeles Police Department and ended his career working in Atlanta where he was living at the time of his death at age 72.

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