By Erika Webb
Lt. Cliff Williams of the Volusia County Sheriff's Office is about to have a lot of days that belong to him, his wife and not necessarily anyone else. That's what retirement is all about.
But the man who served his country as a U.S. Marine, his county as a law officer and an appreciative city as its protector, promoter and friend also will have a day officially named for him.
March 31 is Lt. Cliff Williams Day in the City of DeBary.
Since joining the Sheriff's Office in 1989, Lt. Williams has made a difference.
"The lieutenant is one of the most impressive employees I have ever worked with," said DeBary Assistant City Manager Kassandra Blissett.
His departure will leave a hollow space in her days.
DeBary is one of four cities that contract with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office for law enforcement services. Lt. Williams has worked in DeBary for nine years. His participation in coordinating all of the city's special events, personally meeting with homeowner associations and neighborhood watch groups, attendance at ribbon cuttings and grand openings as well as teaching safety classes to businesses and city employees names "just a few" efforts for which Mayor Bob Garcia and the DeBary City Council are grateful to the man they will miss.
As assistant district commander to Cmdr. Paul Adkins, Lt. Williams helps manage 21 employees. Throughout his tenure he has worked in all districts under the sheriff's jurisdiction.
"District 6 is by far the best I've worked," Lt. Williams said. "I love working with the city council, staff and mayor. I love the projects they initiate, especially the Christmas parade and the Fourth of July event they have."
Lt. Williams' assignments have included road patrol, court services, agency recruiter, senior drill inspector, internal affairs and watch commander, according to the Sheriff's Office.
He was responsible for creating the Volusia County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard and for training all subsequent members, was instrumental in the development of the Volusia County Boot Camp for Juvenile Offenders and volunteered to train probationary deputies for assignment to the program.
He has been commended on numerous occasions by his superiors for his attention to detail; his fairness and integrity and his approachability.
He has been deemed an "outstanding strategist" when dealing with resource management and has been officially recognized as "a born leader."
The lieutenant was selected Outstanding Graduate and Valedictorian of the Police Recruit Training/Basic Law Enforcement Program at Daytona Beach Community College and received the Law Enforcement Officer Humanitarian Award by the Fraternal Order of Police Associates.
Numerous unit commendations, including being named Deputy of the Quarter and Deputy of the Year; and continually participating in the 100 Deputies/100 Kids Program to serve families in need in Volusia during the holiday season, also are among his accomplishments.
"Perhaps most notably," the city proclamation states, he was named "Mr. Best Dressed" (by a uniform manufacturer).
"Lt. Williams is the embodiment of law enforcement professionalism and the epitome of a leader, Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Gary Davidson wrote in an email. "He's dedicated and conscientious, extremely personable, exhibits the highest professional standards in all that he does and is someone who is unfailingly positive and always has an excellent attitude towards his job.
"He is liked and highly respected by all who know him and has earned a well-deserved reputation as someone who has a vast amount of law enforcement knowledge and applies that knowledge in a fair and compassionate way," PIO Davidson wrote.
On a personal level, PIO Davidson noted, one would be hard pressed to meet a nicer individual than the lieutenant, whose zeal has not waned an iota in 24 years of service.
"It's this combination of enthusiasm, fairness exceptional law enforcement skills, professionalism, integrity and a wonderful personality and positive rapport with the public that made him such a great fit in DeBary," he wrote. "Simply put, Lt. Williams is one of the good guys and will be sorely missed by all."
Lt. Williams has considered DeBary his home, Ms. Blissett said.
"It's a very close-knit bedroom-type community where the people get to know law enforcement and they're comfortable coming to you," Lt. Williams said. "That type of environment keeps the community safe and keeps crime down."
As he takes his leave, the lieutenant is at peace and looking forward to a very different future.
He and his wife plan to travel extensively.
"We want to view all of the national treasures this country has to offer," Lt. Williams said. "It's been a great watch; it's my end of watch. The city and citizens have been good to me, the county's been good to me and I've enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to retirement."
Sheriff Ben Johnson summed it up nicely in a letter to Lt. Williams: "Clearly, you leave behind quite a legacy."