BRADENTON -- Law enforcement, city staff, friends and family gathered Tuesday afternoon to honor 25-year police veteran, Deputy Chief Keith Davis of the Bradenton Police Department at his retirement party.
Scheduled to retire officially May 24, Davis was honored at a lunch at Kingdom Life Christian Church, 825 Ninth St. W., where those gathered wished him well.
"We were together for 25 years," Police Capt. Darrel Akemon said. "He's been a great leader, a super friend."
Mayor Wayne Poston recalled Davis joined the department at a time when the agency was not well liked. Davis helped change that.
"He is one of my guys. I am going to miss him both professionally and personally," Poston said. "He is probably the best interrogator I have ever seen."
Davis was overwhelmed by the turnout getting choked up at the end of his speech.
"It makes me feel truly good," Davis said. "They are all true friends."
Davis began as a parking enforcement officer in April 1988 and was transferred to the patrol division in July. In October 1992, he was transferred to the Special Investigations Unit.
He rose through the ranks until being named deputy chief in March 2012.
Over the years he has won many awards including being named Officer of the Year by the Police Benevolent Association in 1997.
His expertise will be missed.
"He takes with him all that expertise," said Police Chief Michael Radzilowski. "He is going to missed. His expertise was knowing the community and knowing who the bad guys are."
Davis is credited with playing a vital role in every major investigation for the past 20 years and being truly dedicated to the community he has lived all his life.
His wife of 24 years, Trudi Davis, was also in attendance.
"I just feel like a whole other chapter of his life ended, and now he is going to start a new chapter," Trudi Davis said. "He's always been a very committed person."
Many said they are losing more than just a colleague.
"We are losing a skilled investigator and administrator who has been a mentor to me my whole career," Capt. Warren Merriman said.
Jessica De Leon, Law Enforcement Reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7045. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.