Jim Williams #2304, retired Seattle Police Sergeant passed away on February 5, 2017. He was within two days of his 80th birthday.
Jim was born and raised in Seattle. His family moved to Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island. Immediately upon graduation from Oak Harbor High, he joined the Marines. He was assigned as an MP in Korea which was devastated from the war just four years earlier. After his four-year enlistment was up in 1960, he returned to the Greater Seattle area.
The next year, he was hired by the Lynnwood Police Department. Two years later, he was hired by the Seattle Police Department. The Department was expanding due to the budget for the World’s Fair in Seattle. Even though the fair was over, its lingering shutdown was still impacting the police.
Jim spent his entire career in Patrol. On January 1, 1970, he was promoted to Patrol Sergeant. On the afternoon of February 14, 1978, a resident of the Morrison Hotel began sending Valentine’s greetings out his window with his rifle. There was no official SWAT or negotiators at that time. So, Patrol cordoned off a safety zone, including shutting down 3rd Avenue. Jim negotiated with the elderly demented suspect. All he would say was hello, hello, and hello, but Jim established a rapport with him. The suspect quit shooting then, put his rifle down, and finally came out of his room to surrender.
Jim was very active in in AA. When his teenage son came home one night with alcohol on his breath, the very next morning, Jim took him into an AA counselor and got the teenager into group meetings. Part of his son’s program was to work on Jim’s Arlington farm raising vegetables, then manning a booth at the Public Market selling them. The reason Jim had the farm in Arlington was because he was a real estate agent on the side, working the northern Snohomish County area. He was always on the lookout for a good deal.
Another time, in 1972, Jim went over to see a fellow sergeant in the Wedgewood neighborhood early in the morning. This sergeant was still badly hung over. Jim told him, let’s go for a ride. The sergeant was woozy and very reluctant, but Jim sweettalked him into it. Once in the car, he finds out they are going to Arlington to get two chickens! Well, he stayed in the car. On the way back from Arlington with the two chickens, Jim says he needs to see a woman. Now the other sergeant is upset and suspicious. But Jim allays his concerns by saying she is your neighbor, and her and your kids play together. So, they pick up the neighbor. Now the sergeant learns they are all going to the Fremont District. When the car stops in front of an AA Chapter, the sergeant knows he is still safe now because it is closed. But Jim has the key. They all go in, including the chickens. The neighbor and Jim do an intervention on the sergeant. It worked – this was the end of his drinking because of Jim’s concern and efforts. The sergeant redirected his focus and went on to make captain. He was under serious consideration to be promoted to major (during Fitzsimons’ administration) when he decided he’d rather retire.
Jim’s injuries forced him to retire in 1983 after 23 years of service. He stayed active, taking trips to Canada, Hawaii, and California, and to Mariners Spring Training. He enjoyed camping and fishing. In his later years, he moved to Guemes Island. There, he made walking sticks out of old driftwood for his neighbors.
His son Dan preceded him in death. He is survived by his other two sons, Dean and Nick; his two daughters, Lorie and Linda; and three grandchildren.