Elvia P. Williams was announced last week as the new police chief for the Village of Maywood, the first woman to hold the position.

“I plan to serve Maywood with honesty and integrity, taking into account the current atmosphere there and improving the relationship between the Police Department and community,” said Williams.

The Maywood Village Board approved a two-year contract with Williams, who will begin her position on July 17.

Robert L. Nelis, the Maywood Village Manager, explained Williams was selected from 16 candidates. Nelis said the candidates were narrowed down to three finalists and that Williams was simply “the best candidate for the position.”

“She was just the best of the good ones,” said Nelis.

Williams, 42, has served in law enforcement for 19 years, and is currently working in the Eugene, Oregon Police Department as Investigations Captain. She is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, has a Master’s degree in counseling from Hampton University and a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology from Loyola University in Chicago.

Williams said she is pleased to be given the position of police chief, and that the community had an open mind.

“I am pleased that they’re open to looking outside of the box,” Williams said.

Nelis explained that Williams is aware of the challenges she may face, including developing a better relationship between the community and the police department.

Williams said she plans to improve that by becoming more visible within community. Williams said she work with businesses and community leaders to addressed problems.

Among the issues she said she initially plans to address are the violent crime rate, gangs and quality of life in Maywood.

Mayor Henderson Yarbrough, however, explained that that effort is a collaborative process between citizens, elected officials and the entire police department.

“It’s going to take all of us to reduce the crime rate,” he said. “She cannot do it alone.”