History made as Phoenix's first female police chief Jeri Williams sworn in

Police Chief Jeri L. Williams sworn-in.

PHOENIX - Friday afternoon, Jeri Williams was sworn in as the first female chief of the Phoenix Police Department.

"I am your chief. I am a proud and humbled representative of this city, the Phoenix Police Department and the community," Williams said. "I have been given so much by so many of you here in this room, as well as outside those doors, it is now required of me to step out on faith, leadership, experience and grace and lead this agency forward into a bright future."

Williams said she looks forward to continuing the "long and proud" tradition of serving and protecting the Phoenix community set forth by the men and women of the Phoenix Police Department and her predecessor, Chief Joe Yahner.

Williams takes the helm as Chief Yahner retires.

Protestors carrying caskets and a banner that read “Nos Faltan 17,” were seen outside the Phoenix Convention Center protesting police violence.

“While Chief Yahner celebrates his time with the Phoenix PD, we are left to pick up the pieces of destroyed families and broken communities left by a violent and out-of-control police force,” one organizer said in a release.

In her speech, Williams thanked Yahner and praised him for his leadership in what she called "tough times as a police chief."

Doors opened to the swearing-in ceremony around 3 p.m. Guests were greeted by singers from the Maryvale High School choir.

The ceremony began around 3:30 p.m.

Williams served in Oxnard, California since 2011, but worked for the force here before that as the assistant chief for Phoenix PD.

Her husband, Cody Williams, is a justice of the peace and her son Alan Williams is a center for the Phoenix Suns.

12 News sat down with her after the announcement was made in July, and she said her priority is to be active in the community, to change any negative perceptions of police with the public.

She also said her family will not see her for the first six months because she plans to meet with many community members.

Williams beat 65 applicants for the position and was ultimately chosen by city manager Ed Zuercher after being interviewed by various city officials, police administrators and community members.

"The mission of the Phoenix Police Department is this: To serve, protect and reduce crime in Phoenix while treating everyone with dignity and respect, " Williams said.