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Worth the weight: Akron cadet sheds pounds to pursue police officer dream job

Future officer inspires lieutenant to lose weight
Aaron Williams.jpg
Posted at 6:02 PM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 19:21:14-04

AKRON, Ohio — Aaron Williams may have been destined to become a police officer and now he's one step closer to realizing his dream job.

"Even from a young age, my mom always told me I had a protective nature about me, and I didn't really realize that until I got older that I always protect people," Williams said.

The 31-year-old Wisconsin native, who now lives in Parma with his wife and two children, is among more than 20 cadets making up the current class of the Akron Police Academy. The classroom and physical training will last 25 weeks with graduation scheduled for September.

Williams knew he had work to do physically in order to handle the demands of being an officer. Beginning in March of 2021, he began shedding pounds— a lot of them.

"I was 360 pounds and I lost 65 pounds," Williams said.

Despite feeling ready to take the physical fitness test last September, he failed because he wasn't able to complete enough sit-ups in the required time.

Akron Police Lt. Michael Miller, who happened to be watching, said the cadet applicant walked away dejected. Miller took Williams aside and told him something that he hadn't realized.

"I told him that I thought he failed, in part, because I don't believe he took a single breath during his sit-ups," Miller said.

"I was holding my breath the whole time and didn't realize it," Williams added.

Keeping Miller's advice in mind, Williams retook the fitness test two weeks later and passed.

That led to a special bond between the cadet-to-be and Miller who was facing his own weight battle.

"He has no idea what he did for me personally," Miller said.

Miller began exercising more and eating better and lost 70 pounds. Both men said they were inspired by each other.

"My doctor didn't say do this or else, but he very easily could have and probably should have. I believe, from where I was, he (Williams) may have literally saved my life," Miller said.

Looking back, Williams feels the conversation with Miller following the failed fitness test changed the course of his career.

"I felt like we literally saved each others' lives and didn't even know it. He changed my life because this is my dream. He knew that he needed to lose weight," Williams said.

Williams and his family have overcome several other major challenges over the past two years.

His wife, Carly, who has an autoimmune disease, nearly died from blood loss when their son Eli, was born in April of 2020, and again, when their daughter, Myla, was born in November of 2021.

"Going through that made me realize, one, how important my family was and how to manage chaos and remain calm," Williams said. "We made a decision, now we're not going to have anymore children."

Williams was thrust into another frightening situation in July 2021. While he was cooking dinner, Eli had a seizure and stopped breathing. Williams performed CPR and saved his baby's life.

"I remember his eyes coming back and he sat up like, what just happened?"

Throughout all of the ordeals, Williams has remained focused on his goals. He has lost about 80 pounds in a year and hopes to get to 100 pounds.

He believes the difficulties he has faced will make him a better and more compassionate police officer.

"Every single day that I'm here, I pray and just say thank you for just getting me here," he said. "It's truly a dream job."