LHPD Chief Williams resigns
By SHELLY WILKISON
After 10 years of service to the City of Liberty Hill, Police Chief Randy Williams said late Wednesday that he is resigning effective April 23.
Williams, a lifelong resident of Liberty Hill, was chosen in 2006 to start the city’s police department and serve as its chief. He has been the only chief in the 10-year history of the department. In fact, Williams was the first paid employee of the City, which incorporated in 1999.
Williams, 59, said he is resigning for health reasons stemming from a lengthy bout with cancer from July 2013-December 2014.
“I am good now, but I need to spend some time working on my health,” he told The Independent after submitting a letter of resignation to Mayor Connie Fuller Wednesday.
He said regular exercise is a key component of his continued recovery from multiple myeloma.
“Sitting here or being on the street isn’t the exercise I need,” he said. “By the time I get home every day, I’m too tired to do anything.
“This has been good for me while I’ve been building myself back up. My purpose now for every day is to work on my health,” he said.
Williams began his law enforcement career in the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office where he served as director of maintenance over the jail from 1991-1997.
“My office was in the booking area, and that’s where I became interested,” he said.
He attended the Academy at Travis County Sheriff’s Office in 1992, then worked as a reserve deputy constable in Williamson County Precinct 2 until a paid position was available in 1997, at which time he left the Sheriff’s Office.
The Constable at that time was from Liberty Hill and with Williams, the office had a visible presence in the community.
In 2004, Williams left the Constable’s office and reserved with the sheriff’s office until 2006 to keep his law enforcement commission.
Williams said the late Charles Canady, who served on the city council from 1999 until 2012, approached him in 2006 about starting a police department for Liberty Hill.
At that time, the City was hiring deputy sheriffs as extra-duty jobs to work traffic and write citations in Liberty Hill. Williams said the situation became costly and officers were often not available for local coverage.
“Charles Canady asked me what it would take to start our own police department, and I did the research and prepared a budget of $50,000 for that first partial year,” Williams recalled.
“The City bought two cars from the (Williamson County) Sheriff’s Office for $1,500 each and they had more than 110,000 miles. Then another two cars from Burnet PD (police department) for $1,000 each, and they still had the radar and less miles,” he said. “We patched them up and wired the lights and put decals on them.”
The Chief hired two paid patrol officers by the end of 2006, and put three additional officers on reserve.
Today, the police department is staffed by the Chief and four full-time officers, three reserve officers who are not paid and one part-time bailiff for the Municipal Court.
Over the years when funding was tight, Chief Williams repeatedly declined cost of living pay increases to make money available to pay his patrol officers.
“My officers were more important than any raise I could earn,” he said.
Last summer, however, he asked the Council for a pay increase to make him whole for those years that he declined them. The Council granted that request.
“I was concerned about my community even before it was a city,” Williams said, recalling his initial interest in building a professional police department here.
Concerned about the safety of officers and providing improved coverage for the community, Williams has requested funding for two additional officers every budget year. Only in the current budget year was his request partially approved as the Council approved funding for one officer that is scheduled to be discussed again in April.
It will likely be the relationships Williams has developed in the community that will be missed most when he leaves office.
“I think that will be a big difference,” he said. “I’ve been patrolling the streets here for over 23 years.”
Williams attended Liberty Hill schools through the eighth grade, which was the year the school district lost its certification from the state. Without a high school in Liberty Hill, Williams attended high school in Leander where he graduated in 1974 alongside some other Liberty Hill students. His father still resides in Williams’ childhood home downtown.
“I’ve never lived anywhere else,” Williams said, adding that he has no interest in leaving. He and his wife, Karen, live just outside the city.
Leaving with Williams on April 23 will be his K-9 Officer Roady, a trained drug detector dog.
In addition to his police service, Williams is also a member of the Liberty Hill Cemetery Association Board of Directors. Williams, who is also the City’s Emergency Management Coordinator, was an original member of the Williamson County Emergency Services District #4 Board of Commissioners and served in that appointed position until 2003.