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Heroine awarded Citizen-of-the-Year

Feeling a bit under the weather, Christa Williams, ’05, stayed home on Nov. 12, 2002. About 11:30 A.M., she heard the doorbell ring; repeatedly. She went to the door and looked through the peephole. She saw a young man in his 20s laughing. He looked rather suspicious.

While the young man walked away, Williams realized that she had left the back door unlocked. She rushed to the door and carefully locked it. She went to the computer room and looked out the window and saw the man coming inside the gate.

The man climbed inside the garage via the doggie door. Needless to say, Williams started to feel scared. She grabbed the phone and called the police.

“It was kinda weird,” Williams said. “I said ?um, I think someone’s breaking into my house.'”

Williams saw another person outside in a car that had come with the man. Four-and-a-half minutes later, Williams spotted six squad cars down the street.

“I saw a big, macho, police chief walking down the street,” Williams said. “The guy was walking back to the car with the stolen goods when the police arrived. They arrested the two guys who were both in their twenties.”

The young men were on methamphetamine and had already burglarized ten houses the same morning. In the car, Williams saw drugs, loose diamonds, jewelry in cases, 20 cell phones, five DVD players, letterman jackets and more.

“They had a storage shed with other stolen goods,” Williams said. “They had no idea I was watching them.”

William’s parents were overwhelmed when they heard what happened.

“My mom cried,” Williams recalls. “She said God had protected me by the fact that I was awake. My dad called me a heroine.”

Both men had long criminal records and this was the young man’s third strike. Williams feared she would need to testify against him.

“I was going to testify and I was not looking forward to it,” Williams said. “The guy pleaded guilty. He was only 26; it was kinda sad. He’s going to have a horrible record at a young age.”

During the burglary, one thought stuck out above all: her small, furry, canine friend.

“To be honest, I was thinking, ?I hope he doesn’t hurt my dog,'” Williams said. “I was thinking how I was going to escape, if I needed to, if he came in. I was wondering if he was going to break the door down and come in.”

The Williams family had an alarm system before the break-in, but afterwards, they purchased another means of protection.

“We bought a large dog,” Williams said. “Now I lock the doors like crazy.”

Williams was awarded Citizen-of-the-Year by the Clovis Police Department on Sept. 17 at Fresno City Hall.

“I got the award for my contribution to law enforcement,” Williams said. “The award is given out for heroic actions, incidents or excellent volunteering.”

People from different cities all over the San Joaquin Valley receive commendations every year for Citizen-of-the-Year.

“There were about 100 people [in attendance],” Williams recalls. “There were police chiefs giving awards for merit. The police chief of other winners’ areas were telling stories about their bravery. Chief [James] Zulim gave me the award.”

Williams does not think she did anything extraordinary.

“I honestly felt I hadn’t done anything amazing to receive an award,” Williams said. “I was very honored.”

For more on the Clovis Police Department, visit www.clovispolice.com.

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