WASHINGTON CITY — Jason Williams was sworn in Monday as Washington City’s new police chief in what the mayor called a new chapter for the city’s police department.
“We are excited at the opportunity to start a new chapter in law enforcement in Washington City,” Mayor Ken Neilson said, “and Jason Williams is going to be that new chapter.”
Williams’ appointment was announced last week following the retirement of Chief Jim Keith who served in the position for over 13 years.
The city conducted on open-recruitment process for his replacement, and applications came in from across Utah and across the county, City Manager Roger Carter said.
Williams, who has been the department’s second highest ranking officer for three years as a lieutenant, was the sole internal applicant among 62 others vying for the job.
Williams said it was nerve-racking to be up against so many other experienced law enforcement professionals.
Carter said of the process, “We want to know we’re hiring the best. Clearly, we know we’ve hired the very best.”
Williams found out March 26 that he had been selected as the new chief, with the rest of the department learning the next day.
“It was exciting, nervous – all emotions balled into one,” Williams said. “But I’ve got great department and great support from my family.”
Williams’ wife, Joanna, said going into law enforcement and becoming a police chief has been a longtime goal for her husband.
“Ever since Jason and I met, I knew he wanted to go into law enforcement,” she said to the packed Washington City Council chambers where the swearing in occurred. “I knew his goal was to be a police chief.”
Williams began his public safety career as a firefighter with the Washington City Fire Department in 2000. During that time he also became a corrections officer at the Purgatory Correctional Facility through the Washington County Sheriff’s Office until joining the Washington City Police Department as a patrol officer in 2007.
Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher said he attended Williams’ swearing in as a sign of continued support and collaboration between the Sheriffs’ Office and Washington City Police.
“We’re here to show support for him and that we have his back when he needs it,” Pulsipher said.
Keith was at the swearing in to pin the four stars to Williams’ shirt collar signifying his new rank.
“He’s earned it and deserves it, and I’m looking forward to supporting him in any way that I can,” Keith said. “He’s going to do a great job.”
As for challenges that may be on the horizon for the new police chief, Williams said the city’s increasing growth was among them.
“We’ll tackle any challenge that comes, and we’ll do our best with the resources we have and will continue to build upon that.”
He also said the people of Washington City can expect the elevated level of service they’ve come to know from their local police department to continue.
“I’m excited for this new adventure,” Williams said.
The video below features an interview with former police chief Jim Keith prior to his retirement.
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