Neighbors Will Miss Williams' Presence

Posted: June 09, 1992

For Willie Williams' neighbors in West Oak Lane, living near a police commissioner has had some real advantages.

Like having a cop on the corner - 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

And getting extra muscle to fight drug houses in the neighborhood.

And getting an instant city response to problems.

Streetlight broken? No problem - we'll be right out.

Even street cleaning. No one had seen that in the neighborhood for years - at least not until Williams became the city's top cop.

Tomorrow, former commissioner Williams plans to move out of his house on Dallas Street near 18th and head for his new job as Los Angeles police chief.

His neighbors say they'll miss him.

And they say they'll also miss the perks of being his neighbor since his promotion to commissioner in June 1988.

The neighborhood where the Williams family had lived for more than 20 years is a quiet, friendly collection of stone-faced rowhouses bordering the Northwood Cemetery. Just about everybody knows everybody. Most people own their own homes.

Like a lot of neighborhoods, it's had a few problems. This one has just been luckier than most.

Douglas Williams, a neighbor who's not related to the former commissioner, said the corner had been plagued by kids drinking and cursing. Having a cop right there took care of that.

The commissioner also toured the neighborhood with block captains who wanted the police to get rid of some local drug houses. That did the trick.

"The neighborhood has become a much safer place," said Douglas Williams.

Now, he and and other neighbors are worried that when the commissioner and the cop on the corner go, the crime will come back.

"Everyone's concerned, whether they want to say it or not," said Lloyd James.

James and Douglas Williams, a local Democratic committeeman, both said they plan to meet with the captain of the 35th Police District to make sure the neighborhood will continue to be protected.

Yesterday, neighbors watched as movers loaded furniture from Willie Williams' house into a large moving van.

"We hate to see them go - they're a real nice family," said Phil Lyerly, who has been Willie Williams' neighbor for more than 20 years. "It will be kind of strange not seeing all the police presence. That will be kind of weird."

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