Sheldon Williams (Courtesy Photo /Buses Are Bridges blog).

The terms ‘pastor’ and ‘SWAT officer’ don’t typically go together, but then Sheldon Williams is anything but typical–as further evidenced by the terms ‘firefighter’ and ‘paramedic’–all capacities in which Williams has served the public.

Now thanks to the nomination by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Williams, currently the associate administrative pastor at Allegheny Center Alliance Church, can add another title: Citizens Police Review Board member.

“Sheldon Williams brings just the right balance of experience and integrity that a body as important as the CPRB needs,” Peduto said in an April 16 press statement announcing the nomination.

Williams began his 20-year career in public safety as a certified firefighter and paramedic in 1991 before transferring to the Bureau of Police six years later. In addition to his work as a SWAT team member and instructor, between 1997 and his retirement in 2011, Williams served as a senior Bomb Squad technician, a detective, and a counter-terrorism coordinator.

He also works in emergency management readiness for the Air National Guard, and is a former Army National Guard medic. He is also a past adjunct professor of criminal justice at Point Park University.

Williams, who is recuperating at home following knee surgery, said he is honored to have been nominated by the mayor and looks forward to contributing to the board’s mission.

“I’m honored to have been nominated, and I believe in what the board stands for,” Williams told the New Pittsburgh Courier. “I hope to put my experience to use in making sure all complaints, the frivilouos as well as those that have merit, are managed properly.”

His appointment awaits city council confirmation.

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