They say one shouldn’t mix work and play, but for Cincinnati Officer Onam Williams, it’s his specialty.
Officer Williams isn’t only a police officer, he’s a mentor to the children of the community and a father of six — something that truly reflects in his work.
When Officer Williams received a call around 8:30 p.m. about an alleged street fight involving kids in the Mt. Healthy neighborhood, he went to check it out, but when he got there he didn’t see a fight — he saw a bunch of children being children.
So he decided to take a different approach.
“Nobody was fighting — it was just verbal,” said Officer Williams.
When 12-year-old Alex Agenbroad saw the police approaching he said he expected him to “yell at us for being in the street,” according to ABC9 news. But Officer Williams didn’t yell at the kids or tell them to go home, instead, he organized a relay race — and promised the winners a free slushy.
To get the children to settle down, foster a positive spirit of cooperation between the youth, and trust within the community, the Officer approached the situation like an ordinary person would, as if he were disciplining his own children.
“Sometimes I use a stern voice and other times I have them do some kind of physical labor as far as like racing, doing push-ups, and stuff like that, you know, and they seem to react well to it.” he told WLWT.
Office Williams said he tried to treat the kids as if they were his own children.
When a neighbor went outside to see what the commotion was all about, Dawn Walter says she was deeply touched with what she saw and recorded the whole thing on her phone. “I was personally touched by that,” she told ABC9 news.
“There is so much negativity right now towards police officers and there’s so many good police officers and Officer Williams is a perfect example of a great police officer. The kids know him in the community and they respect him and if he talks they listen,” she told WLWT.
The race was a quick and effective way to sort out the situation.
“90 seconds is all it took — 90 seconds,” said Walter.
Officer Williams is a man of responsibility and knows that a friendly approach can have everlasting positive effects, fostering trust within communities, teamwork among children, and trust between law enforcement and civilians.
When ABC9 asked Alex Smith, who had initially been apprehensive towards police, if he felt it was easier to trust a cop after the race, the 12-year-old said “yeah.”
Officer Williams got all of the children free slushies for doing such a great job on the relay race. He told ABC9, “If we can be an inspiration to them, then we’re leaving our future in good hands.”