VALLEJO, Calif. (KRON) — The police chief of Vallejo announced his abrupt resignation on Friday and wished the city and its police department “all the best.”
Police Chief Shawny Williams was Vallejo’s top cop for nearly three years. Williams was hired as chief in November 2019 after a 26-year career with the San Jose Police Department.
City Manager Mike Malone appointed Deputy Chief of Police Jason Ta to serve as interim police chief. Malone will work with the city council and the community on the process for selecting the next police chief.
On Friday, Williams said his time in Vallejo was rewarding “both professionally and personally.”
Williams said, “I arrived at the city during a challenging and controversial period in the city’s history. It was my goal as police chief to build collaborative partnerships between the department and the community. While the department still has strides to make toward its ultimate goals, together we have accomplished many tasks that I feel have put VPD on the right path to success, and I wish the department and the city all the best.”
Earlier this year, 73 out of 75 Vallejo Police Officers Association members voted that they had “no confidence” in Chief Williams. At a July news conference held to announce the vote, an attorney who represents Vallejo police officers said of Williams, “He’s the king, he’s not the chief.”
During Williams’s tenure in Vallejo, he and the city worked with communities, police officers, the California Department of Justice, and working groups to reform VPD’s policy, training and accountability. “The city has experienced a significant decline in officer-involved shootings, use of force incidents and citizen complaints and claims,” city officials wrote.
In September, the Vallejo Police Officers’ Association sent a press release to reporters in reaction to “the most violent crime spikes in recent memory.” The crime spike included a 10-year-old child and a Vallejo High School football coach who were shot in separate shootings.
“It is no secret that there has been a mass exodus of police officers, 911 dispatchers, and other support staff. The employees of the police department are deeply frustrated,” VPOA wrote.
The police officers’ union claimed that a “mass exodus” was spurred by Williams’ “poor fiscal choices, vindictiveness towards subordinates, unfair labor practices, inability to make vital decisions, and lack of transparency.”
Vallejo’s city manager and mayor thanked Williams on Friday for his service.
“We are thankful for the progressive changes in policy that Chief Williams brought forward during his time with Vallejo,” Malone said. “We look forward to continuing our reform efforts and meeting our ongoing goals for service excellence, inclusiveness and accountability.”
“On behalf of myself and the City Council, we thank Chief Williams for his service and wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Mayor Robert McConnell.