PRATT, W.Va. — Police Chief Andy Williams is taking on a new role. He was appointed to fill the unexpired term as the town’s mayor Tuesday night.
“I’ve had several people ask me and I’m only here until the 30th of June, so it was something I thought I might want to try,” Pratt told 580-WCHS.
He takes over the reins of the eastern Kanawha County town after the resignation of former Mayor Eric Holcomb. Holcomb wanted to spend more time with his family and to deal with a significant medical situation in his family.
Williams has served as the Pratt police chief for the past few years after serving 24 years with the Ripley Police Department. The job has given him a clear understanding of the most difficult challenges facing the town of Pratt. According to Williams, those are homelessness and drug abuse.
“It’s not illegal to be homeless, but they have issues with drug addiction and then they have to steal to support their habit. I’m on the front line of that both ways,” he said.
Whether Williams and the town can do anything significant to tackle the problem is hard to know. The problem is substantial and not unique to Pratt. He admitted it was a problem which would require much larger solutions than he and his tiny town could provide. He also wondered if he would have enough time in the present term to address much. He’ll serve until June 30.
But Williams also didn’t rule out the possibility he might seek the full term in the next election if things fall into place.
“I’ll wait and see how it is and it’s something I think I would enjoy and the citizens want I would consider running again,” he said.
Serving as both police chief and mayor is not unprecedented. Marvin Crouch did so in Chesapeake and Essie Ford has done so in Handley. Williams said prior to agreeing to the job he checked with the state Ethics Commission and was assurance serving in both roles is allowed under state code.