Community organizer serving on new Police District Councils

Joseph Williams, founder of Mr. Dad’s Father’s Club is a member of the 7th District for the Chicago Police District Councils. Photo provided by Joseph Williams.
Joseph Williams, founder of Mr. Dad’s Father’s Club is a member of the 7th District for the Chicago Police District Councils. Photo provided by Joseph Williams.

Community organizer serving on new Police District Councils

By Tia Carol Jones

Joseph Williams, Executive Director and Founder of Mr. Dad’s Father’s Club, was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago. He is a husband, and father to six children. He was recently elected to the 7th District for the Police District Councils. Williams was also a member of the Local School Council, starting when he was 21-years old. He is transitioning into different roles to continue his engagement in the community.

With the Police District Councils, three members will serve in each of the 22 Police Department Districts. District Councils and the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability were created by an ordinance, which passed in July 2021, that created a new model for public safety, police oversight, and accountability. The elected members elected to the District Councils in February will serve a four- year term.


The roles of the District Councils include: Building stronger connections between the police and the community at the district level; Collaborating in the development and implementation of community policing initiatives; Holding monthly public meetings; Working with the community to get input on police department policies and practices; Working to develop and expand restorative justice and similar programs in the police district; Ensuring that the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability gets input from the community; and Nominating members of the Community Commission.


“The ultimate goal for the District Council members is to really find a better way of building relationships between community and police on the ground level,” Williams said, adding that the members are bringing the community voice to the table when it comes to holding police accountable and implement policies.


Williams wants his role as a member of the Police District Councils to be one that helps create a space where police know the people they serve. He believes police officers should know the people in the community where they serve. “There’s no reason why we should have folks in our community who don’t have a relationship with us,” he said.


The 7th District for the Police District Councils covers five wards: 15th, 16th, 17th, 6th and 20th Williams added, District Councils, Community Alternative Policing Strategies (CAPS) and the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability are all ways to improve public safety, with District Councils being people from the community, and CAPS being the police, community and other stakeholders.


Williams wanted to run for the 7th District Councils because of the work he already does in the community. He believes there is power and is excited about the possibilities of the role. “I think this can be a position that we can take to a new level to not only educate folks in our community about the power they have and really finding ways to build relationships,” he said.


 Within what Williams believes is possible, he would like to see what can happen when police officers come in schools and read books to children, what would happen if police knew the people they served in communities, and what would happen if police officers were more intentional at crime scenes and considerate of families during crime scenes. Williams has seen what can happen when the police and community engage with one another. He wants people to bring more ideas to bring better opportunities for the community and police to work together.


Williams has made an impact as a member of the LSC and sees being part of the District Councils as a way of building community and building relationships. He knows it will take trust and building relationships for the District Councils to be effective. He sees it as a way to bring people together.


Williams believes government would be more effective if there was a more concerted effort to get the voice of the people. “All people want to know is that you are listening to them and that you hear their concerns,” Williams. “If we did more of that in government, so many things would be different.”


For more information about the District Councils, visit Chicago.gov.

Latest Stories





Latest Podcast

Joseph Williams for State Rep. 56th District