Cincinnati, OH – Cincinnati Police Captain Kimberly Williams passed away on Tuesday, following a three-month battle with an aggressive form of breast cancer.
Capt. Williams, 54, was the first African-American woman to be promoted to the rank of captain in the history of the Cincinnati Police Department, WLWT reported.
In May, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of triple negative breast cancer, which soon spread throughout her body.
"Her mind was willing to do the fight but her body just had enough and so it was tough. It was really tough for all of us," Capt. Williams’ best friend and coworker, Sergeant Olivia Greer, told WLWT.
She would have celebrated her 30th year of service with the department in October.
"She's a trailblazer,” Sgt. Greer said of Capt. Williams’ advancement up the ranks. “It was a door-opener for a lot of African-American females on the job, not only for African-American females but for all females."
Sgt. Greer described Capt. Williams as a “woman of determination,” and said she was always studying and going to trainings to “do better for herself.”
Capt. Williams held a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, and went on to earn a master’s degree in criminal justice, The Enquirer reported.
She was a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the Police Executive Leadership Class, and the Senior Management Institute for Policing, and was also a member of the Police Executive Research Forum and the FBI National Academy.
Officer Eddie Hawkins, who spent seven years working with Capt. Williams in the agency’s Youth Services Unit when she was still a lieutenant, said that she made the workplace feel like a family, WLWT reported.
"Coming to work is not really work and that's the kind of environment that we had with her being there,” Officer Hawkins recalled. “It was like not really being at work. It was sort of like hanging out with your family.”
Capt. Williams’ accomplishments also made her an inspiration to the youth the unit worked with, he said.
"Our hope has always been with young people, is for them to be able to see themselves in us,” Officer Hawkins explained. “It was important that they didn't see the uniform, that they saw us. So, when you look and you see this lady that's a captain – something that's never happened before in the history of the police department – wow. That's a very big deal.”
Capt. Hawkins also wrote the Cincinnati Police Department’s $3 million grant that enabled them to establish their Children in Trauma Intervention Camp, The Enquirer reported. The eight-week program provides youth with education, counseling, leadership, and physical training, as well as substance abuse counseling, life skill building, and stress management.
Capt. Williams commanded the department’s internal investigations Section, and spent time serving in each of the agency’s five districts. Most recently, she commanded District 2.
During her career, she worked in the Chief’s Adjunct, Detail Coordination, Street Corner, Intelligence, Vice, Criminal Investigation Section, and Vice, The Enquirer reported.
“Adversity in life never stopped her,” Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said, according to WKRC. “She continued to drive forward not only in her career but in her education, in the way she loved her son and her family and friends. She was always involved in everything we had.”
"Captain Williams was an incredible police officer largely because she was an incredible human being," a department spokeswoman wrote in a news release, according to WCPO.
Capt. Williams leaves behind her 17-year-old son, Robinson Perry, who is being cared for by Sgt. Greer, according to WLWT.
Her brother, Governor Williams, also works for the Cincinnati Police Department’s Youth Services Unit, The Enquirer reported.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Cincinnati Police Captain Kimberly Williams, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.