Willie B. Cochran is the youngest of 10 children born to Jasper and Gessner Cochran. His father worked in Chicago's stockyards for 33 years. His mother was a homemaker. He obtained an Associate of Arts degree from Joliet Junior College in 1973, and in 1975 he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Eastern Illinois University. He continued his education to earn a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1988, and pursued post- graduate studies at Northwestern University in Public Safety Administration.
In 1977, Willie became a Chicago Police Officer and he retired from law enforcement in 2003 after 26 years of dedicated service as a patrolman, investigator, sergeant and federal marshal. After retiring from the police department, Willie went on to demonstrate his commitment to community service by working as organizer for the Woodlawn's New Communities Program. During his tenure as a community organizer, he participated in extensive community planning activities designed to improve the quality of life and create solutions to problems that have plagued neighborhoods, such as crime, ineffective schools, and lack of affordable housing, jobs, health, and economic development. He has directed the same type of quality of life initiative in the Washington Park community. He also led the development of its New Communities Program, the Washington Park Consortium, and ensured that a quality of life plan was undertaken in the Back of the Yards community. In addition to being an active resident of the community, he operated a family owned business in Woodlawn for 14 years.
In 2007, Willie B. Cochran was elected Alderman of the 20th Ward, and in 2008 he was also elected Ward Committeeman. In 2011 he was re-elected to his second term as Alderman of the 20th Ward, and he was also re-elected Ward Committeeman in 2012. His background in business, public service, and organizing, and his degrees in Sociology, Public Administration, and executive training in Staff & Command in Public Safety have proven to be invaluable assets as he serves the public's interest.