LIVE OAK, Fla. — For the first time in 12 years, the City of Live Oak is looking for a new police chief.

Nearly 32 years after submitting his application to the Live Oak Police Department, Buddy Williams submitted his resignation to the city on Monday. Williams’ last day as police chief will be Aug. 2 and he then will begin with the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 5.

“I am honored to have served as the Chief of Police for the past 12 years and feel that I led the agency in the proper direction with positivity and community policing,” Williams wrote in his resignation letter. “I am proud of the men and women at this agency and know that there are people within that will continue to move forward and succeed with the ever changing role of law enforcement.

“I love the City of Live Oak, I love the residents and I love the Live Oak Police Department.”

In his law enforcement career of 31-plus years, he began with the LOPD in December 1987, Williams has held every position with the LOPD. He also has worked as an agricultural inspector and as a deputy sheriff in Columbia County before returning to the LOPD, where he has spent 25 years of his career.

“I just wish him the best,” City Manager Ron Williams said, adding throughout his career he has been supportive of employees that wish to move on to different positions. “In the three years I worked with him, he’s been an outstanding employee and person. I think he’s been a good mentor for the young officers and I think his community outreach and his community efforts have really been positive for the city.”

Ron Williams said while Chief Williams provided a month’s notice, he hopes to quickly get started on the search after the Independence Day holiday.

He said the city will likely begin by advertising internally for the position before advertising outside of the police department.

“We’ll start interviewing as soon as we can, as soon as we get some applicants in,” Ron Williams said, adding it was too early to say whether an interim police chief would be named if the search was still ongoing when Chief Williams departs. “We’ll get out a notice very early and see where the interest is.

“Be assured, we will have a leader of the police department by Buddy’s departure in some form.”

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