Three years into his police career, Preston Williams’s reality of becoming a police officer didn’t match the dreams he had as a kid growing up in Roxbury.
It was 1971, and Williams was on foot patrol on Washington Street in his neighborhood, assigned to the midnight to 8 a.m. shift. He didn’t have a partner. He wasn’t in a cruiser. He wasn’t responding to calls.
So when Deputy Chief Herbert Craigwell asked if Williams might want to be part of a brand-new, all-black special unit formed by then-commissioner Edmund McNamara, Williams was ready.