As a captain, Myers was one of the few officers lauded by African-American community leaders for engaging with black citizens. He was recognizable for his 6'-3" frame and red hair. He was promoted to deputy chief and director of operations.
Mayor David Vann appointed Myers chief on October 13, 1978 following the resignation of Jim C. Parsons. As chief, Myers was faced early on with a crisis caused by the fatal shooting of Bonita Carter by Officer George Sands at a convenience store in Kingston in June 1979. Myers brought City Councilman Richard Arrington, Jr to the scene to try to calm the crowd without the threat of more police violence. Vann's refusal to call for Sands' firing opened the way for Arrington's successful campaign for Mayor that fall.
Though Myers and Arrington held each other in esteem, their respective positions at a time when police accountability was a major issue, made it difficult for them to cooperate publicly. The Fraternal Order of Police viewed Arrington's orders, aimed at reducing police brutality, as interference in departmental matters. Myers was increasingly seen as an ineffective advocate for the department. The issue came to a head over the mayor's refusal to allow for Sands' reinstatement, and Myers resigned effective January 16, 1981. He was subsequently hired as head of security for Carraway Methodist Medical Center.
Jim C. Parsons
|Chief of Birmingham Police Department
|Birmingham City Council District 1 Representative
- Arrington, Richard (2008) There's Hope for the World: The Memoir of Birmingham, Alabama's First African-American Mayor Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press
- Robinson, Carol (October 3, 2018) "Former Birmingham police chief, city councilman Bill Myers dead at 88" The Birmingham News