A former Cincinnati police officer is joining the force for a second time and is back in the academy after 25 years.
It will be 57-year-old Darryl Williams’ second time going through police academy training after he graduated the first time in 1997 before working as a patrol officer with the Cincinnati Police Department for a stint.
However, Williams had to leave his job behind after moving to Florida with his family when his daughter accepted a scholarship at a top sports academy.
Over two decades later, the veteran has returned to Cincinnati, and is due to complete his training in February next year. Williams said when he left in 2006, his job wasn’t finished.
“I think I still have something to offer. I think I still have something to give back. I left in a time that I really didn’t want to leave but I left for my family, but I still feel I have a whole lot to give to the city of Cincinnati,” Williams told WLWT.
Williams said he hopes his story will inspire people who want to become a police officer to never give up.
“Never give up. I applied since leaving the department at least five or six times. Never gave up, never gave up hope,” he said. “Hopefully other people will see if he’s 56 or 57 and can do it, maybe at 35, 34 I can do it.”
Since training started, Williams has lost a whopping thirty pounds.
“I used to be the number one or two in running, pushups, sit-ups. It’s sort of humbling to come in and now I’m struggling,” he joked.
Of course, being teased by fellow recruits about his age is to be expected.
“They all call me 56 but I guess they’re gonna have to change it ’cause I had a birthday in October. I’m 57 now,” he said.
Lt. Col. Mike John, an assistant chief at the department, graduated in the 83rd class with Williams, and praised him for his character, calling him a “servant leader.”
“If I even go back 25 years, he wasn’t the youngest in the class then. He was someone that we all looked up to. He was actually somewhat of a father figure to us. He is the type of person we want policing the streets of Cincinnati,” John said.
According to John, Williams would always pray for the class every day and was admired for his physical fitness.
“We used to call him Big Daddy,” John said. “We actually changed his nickname when we started doing defensive tactics and ground fighting. We called him Big Damage.”
But no matter how old you are, there is always something new to learn.
Williams said his new recruits are teaching him a lot about technology.
“I’ve never owned a laptop before so I had to get one for this class. Everything we did was hand-written, complaints, everything,” he said.
Williams may be a trainee again, but he still has a lot of experience on the force, and acts as a mentor to many of the new recruits.
“I think I can help the young people understand exactly what they’re getting into. I think a lot of them don’t really understand what they’re about to see. Some of the things they’re going to see and do, they’re never going to be able to take out their mind,” he said.