Antonio Williams is resigning as police chief of the city schools to become the head of law enforcement for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in early June, the school system confirmed yesterday.
Williams, 43, has overseen the city schools for 18 months and is responsible for 100 sworn officers, 24 vehicles and a $6.6 million operating budget.
In February, a plan to merge the schools' police force with the larger Baltimore department was publicly supported by Mayor Sheila Dixon but blocked by the school board, which has authority over the schools' police.
Williams said he had been in discussions with UMBC during that time, and the controversy surrounding the proposed merger had no influence on his decision to leave the city schools.
"As an officer, you always look for opportunities," Williams said. "UMBC is an excellent opportunity to be part of a great organization. It gives me the opportunity to expand my experience base and allows me to help improve UMBC's police force. And I can further my own education."
Reflecting on his tenure in city schools, Williams said he was most proud of having built on a good team of officers while cultivating better relationships with community leaders. Last month, Williams and schools officials presented a series of initiatives to combat gang violence in schools.
"We wish Chief Williams well. His policies strongly increased school safety in schools," said Charlene Cooper Boston, the city school system's interim chief executive officer, through a spokeswoman. "Chief Williams also worked collaboratively with schools officials and our external partners in developing our comprehensive safety plan."
Williams holds degrees in management from the Johns Hopkins University and in criminal justice from the University of Baltimore. Williams started on the city police force in 1986 and had served as a police officer, patrol supervisor, sergeant, lieutenant and commanding officer. He had also worked in the homicide, criminal investigation and drug enforcement divisions, before leaving to join the schools police in 2005.
Schools officials have no timetable as to when a new schools police chief will be named.