BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - For 26 years, Lieutenant Ray Williams has served Baton Rouge as a member of the Police force. He reminds WAFB's Donna Britt that they first met 22 years ago, when he and his partner were assigned to be part of what was then an experiment in the brand-new "community policing" project.
"It was new then," Williams says. "We were the original first team, Darryl Jordan and me. We had all the housing complexes in the North Baton Rouge area."
Williams said he first considered having a business on the side when he happened to get into trouble at work.
"It came about because I got into an altercation with a supervisor that eventually led to disciplinary action," Williams admits. "At that time, I decided I needed to do something other than police work. I decided to go to school to learn the finer points of massage, because I had been doing it casually for friends but wanted to know more.
"I went to Medical Training College on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge. The school lasted a year and I was motivated. As soon as I graduated I took both my national and state exams, passed on both on my first try, and opened my first shop. My aunt had a beauty shop on South 19th Street. She had an extra room and she told me that if I graduated, she'd rent me the space. Turned out I graduated in the top 5 of my class, and started my business."
Now, almost 30 years after starting his career as a lawman, Williams is preparing to retire.
"I just signed up for the 'DROP.' I have three more years," he said.
"Why now at this particular time?" Britt asks.
"Well, it's just the situation where I realize there's a beginning a middle and the end of everything. I'm at the point I realize that I'm not physically able to do the things I used to on the job. When we first met about 22 years ago, I was running criminals down, and fighting with them and we still scrap back them occasionally now. But I know I'm not the same man physically I was as when I was young."
Was there ever a conflict between the massage biz and police work? Williams says no, that the police salary often kept his massage business afloat.
After last summer's floods struck so many people, Williams made the decision to close his bricks and mortar business. He's now mobile and liking it.
"What happened when the flood hit, it affected about 90-percent of my clients. So I had to make a business decision about keeping the office open. I still do home and business visits. I have quite a few clients, that I now treat free, while they're trying to recover. Nothing happened to my home, I had family members that were displaced and my heart went out to those flood victims."
For 28 years, he's been married to Constance Marie Williams. They have five adult children four sons and one daughter.
"They think my business is pretty cool," he laughs. "Because they get to get their massages for free."
For a short while longer he's still on the police beat. But Ray Williams' "Soothing Touch Massage Therapy" has a portable table and a chair that he can pack.
You can contact him on on his cell (225) 268-1577. He says he's on duty at the PD from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m., but is available 7 a.m. to about noon most weekdays and on the weekend, he's full-time masseuse on Fridays and Saturdays.