ST. GEORGE — Washington City Police Chief Jason Williams was chosen as one of 40 recipients of the “40 Under 40” award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
The “40 Under 40” award program is designed to recognize individuals in law enforcement under the age of 40 from around the world who embody excellence within the field and demonstrate strong leadership and commitment to their profession. These awardees represent all levels of law enforcement agencies, including state, local, university, military and federal.
There are more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies and more than 900,000 local, state, district and federal law enforcement officers in the U.S. alone, according to information obtained from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and USA Facts.
Each winner was chosen for his or her demonstration of strong values and commitment to the law enforcement field and to the communities they serve through leading by example, serving as a role models, providing mentorship, developing effective methodologies for their agencies, and taking advantage of every opportunity to build up those around them.
They go beyond their position and role in the law enforcement field to improve their communities in an effort to make it a better place for the public and future generations.
Interestingly, city police departments employ more than half of all public safety officers across the U.S., including Washington City, where Williams, a 17-year veteran of the department who took the helm three years ago, was selected to receive the award from a wide pool of candidates from seven countries, including the United States, Canada, Colombia, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, India and the Solomon Islands, and was the only candidate selected from Utah.
Award recipients are honored at a banquet typically held during the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police conference that was scheduled to take place in New Orleans Louisiana, but the event was cancelled this year after Hurricane Ida battered the region with heavy rains that caused flooding in many low-lying areas. Instead, the presentation was delivered through a virtual platform.
The nomination packet sent to the international organization included letters that were sent in from Washington City Mayor Ken Neilson, as well as from Washington City Manager, Jeremy Redd, who told St. George News the decision to nominate Williams for the award stemmed from the professionalism and the experience the chief consistently brings to the table, he said, and for the phenomenal contribution had has been to the community.
He went on to say the community support is evidenced by the fact that anytime he and Williams have been out in the public together, there has never been a time when a member of the community hasn’t stopped to say hello to the chief, and it is apparent the residents know that Williams cares about the people the department serves.
“And the fact that he’s under 40 bodes well for our city, and means we have many, many years that we can enjoy his leadership here,” Redd said.
The other component that weighed heavily on the city council related to the chief’s leadership skills and how he interacts with his officers, the city manager said, traits that cannot be implemented through training or hiring practices, but are characteristics that make up a person. It is also well known in the police department that Williams would never ask his officers to do anything he wouldn’t do himself, whether it’s traffic control at a crash scene, providing backup or responding to a high-profile arrest.
It is through those daily interactions that Redd said Williams has shown how much he cares for those serving within the department, and is what has also brought out the best in the officers he leads – which in turn has instilled a level of loyalty and commitment that is also reciprocal.
“His officers know he cares about them and they would follow him anywhere,” Redd added.
Mariam Davis, who retired as the administrative assistant of the Washington City Police Department last month, sent in the nomination packet that included an essay she authored that described Williams as having “exemplary leadership skills,” and is one who “walks the walk.”
Davis also wrote that Williams fought hard for his officers for better equipment, vehicles and other department improvements, she said, and he continues in his efforts to raise morale.
Davis also included comments from the officers, including one that said Williams does not rush into a decision, but gives careful consideration to the various points of view presented before deciding what is best for the community, the city, and the department. Another officer described the chief as compassionate who places the officers’ welfare and their families as a top priority.
For Williams, learning he was one of the award recipients came as a shock, he said, and that he was humbled by the nomination. He also said he was honored by the fact the city council and the department would reach out to the international organization and submit his name to be considered for the award.
In the end, he said, any recognition belongs to the entire police department, since it takes the efforts of all of his officers and their commitment to serve the Washington City community that is what makes the department what it is.
“This has been a very proud and humbling moment for me as the chief of the department,” Williams said.
In the letter sent to the International Association of Police Chiefs, Redd described Williams as “the prototype of what it takes to be a successful leader of a police force in this new era of transparency, openness, accountability and digitalization.”
The International Association of Chiefs of Police is the world’s largest and most influential professional association for police leaders. With more than 30,000 members in 150 countries, the association has been serving communities worldwide by speaking out on behalf of law enforcement and advancing leadership and professionalism in policing for more than 100 years.
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