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CHICAGO – Mayor Rahm Emanuel today named Charles Williams, a 34-year-veteran of the Chicago Police Department who has spent the past four years working for Merchandise Mart Properties, as the new Commissioner of the Department of Streets and Sanitation. Williams will be replacing Tom Byrne, who is joining the Chicago Park District as Director of Park Services, Safety and Security.
“Charles Williams has the experience and leadership qualities to lead the Department of Streets and Sanitation as it continues to become more efficient while providing the level of services that residents and businesses have come to expect under the guidance of Tom Byrne,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Charles admirably served the Police Department in a variety of roles, earning many accolades as he rose through the ranks to become Deputy Superintendent. I am confident that his experiences will serve him well in his new position.”
Throughout his decorated, 34-year career with the Department of Police, Williams demonstrated excellent leadership and organizational skills, which culminated in his being named the first Deputy Superintendent for the Bureau of Patrol in 2005. As Deputy Superintendent for Patrol, Williams managed personnel throughout the City, overseeing patrol operations and personnel across all Chicago neighborhoods. Prior to this, Williams held a number of command positions, including Deputy Superintendent for the Bureau of Strategic Deployment, Deputy Chief of Area 4 Patrol, Commander of Area 1 Detectives, Commander of the Public Housing Unit and Commanding Officer, General Investigations Section for the Internal Affairs Division.
“I am very excited to join Mayor Emanuel’s administration and look forward to serving the residents and businesses of Chicago as the Commissioner of Streets and Sanitation,” said Williams. “Upon my confirmation by City Council, I will continue the many efforts started by Commissioner Byrne, including adopting the grid system for garbage and expanding recycling throughout Chicago.”
Throughout his career, Williams received a number of distinguished awards including the Carter Harrison Honorable Mention Award, the Blue Star Award, four Department Lifesaving Awards, two Unit Meritorious Awards, 94 Honorable Mention Awards, among other ribbons and recommendations.
After retiring from the Chicago Police Department, Williams became the National Security Director for Merchandise Mart Properties, where he has been responsible for the daily operations of the security department at 15 properties across North America, including properties in in Chicago, Boston, New York City, Los Angeles, Washington DC, High Point, NC, Toronto and Vancouver, Canada. In addition, Williams oversaw security operations for over 300 Merchandise Mart Property produced tradeshows, conferences and seminars, which attract more than one million visitors per year.
Williams has also experience in leading during a crisis, as Deputy Superintendent he helped to create the Bureau of Strategic Deployment, which was responsible for all homeland security related matters for the City of Chicago. He led a contingent of Chicago Police Officers who assisted the City of New Orleans in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in 2005. In addition to patrolling the streets, he was able to observe the attempts to build a command and control structure during a national emergency.
Williams is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and was a member of the Joint Terrorists Task Force in 1982 and 1983, participating in the investigation of Claude Daniel Marks. Williams started his career as an Airborne Paratrooper for the United States Army.
Byrne will continue to serve the Emanuel administration at the Chicago Park District, where he will manage safety and security efforts for all Chicago parks. Byrne will work with Williams to ensure a smooth transition, and is expected to take time off to spend time with his family before beginning in his new role at the Park District this winter.
Byrne has served as commissioner of Streets and Sanitation since June 2009. He previously served as Commissioner of the Department of Transportation after a 35-year career in Chicago Police Department