Throughout most of his adult life, Charles E. “Chuck” Davis was a public servant holding many titles in law enforcement ranging from detective to police chief to 911 director.
“Chuck was a long standing and good public servant for Whitley County. He will be sorely missed,” said Whitley County Judge-Executive Pat White Jr., who will serve as one of Davis’ pallbearers at his funeral Wednesday.
Davis, 63, passed away Saturday at Baptist Health in Corbin following a long illness.
“What I remember about him most was probably his patience. Chuck was one of those people if you placed him in a stressful situation, he was the calmest person in the crowd,” said Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird, who will also serve as one of the pallbearers at Davis’ funeral.
“He was laid back. He had an excellent sense of humor. He was a good man and a good officer. He was a very honest person.”
With the exception of a brief six-month period in 1988 where he left to take another job in Somerset, Davis worked as a Williamsburg Police Officer from Oct. 9, 1985, until August 1990, when Mayor Marcella Mountjoy promoted Davis to police chief.
Davis received a Peace Officer of the Year Award in 1991 for his role in apprehending a suspect wanted for killing Stanford Police Officer Gary Kidwell during a traffic stop on Jan. 20, 1991.
Davis and another officer later got into pursuit of suspect Thomas Wade Watkins, who was driving a stolen vehicle headed south on I-75. During the pursuit, Watkins allegedly tried to ram the police cars with his stolen vehicle and fired at Davis and the other officer, who eventually forced him off the interstate and into the median. When Watkins raised his weapon towards Davis and the other officer, both fired at him. Watkins then dropped his gun and an ambulance took him to the hospital.
“It was the nominator’s feelings, as well as other officers of the Williamsburg Police Department, that if Thomas Wade Watkins had escaped capture that other police officers’ lives would have been endangered or lost as he continued to flee,” according to a letter from the Kentucky Peace Officers’ Association.
As a police officer in the 1990s, Davis was one of the first police K-9 handlers in the area. His loyal K-9 partner, Rocky, accompanied him many days while on patrol.
He served as Williamsburg Police Chief until February 1999 when he became the city’s first domestic violence officer.
One of Davis’ primary duties as domestic violence officer was ensuring that Emergency Protective Orders were served throughout Whitley County. At the time he took the job, only about 42 percent of the Emergency Protective Orders issued in Whitley County were being served.
Bird, who started working as a Williamsburg police officer in 1995 under Davis, said that Davis was kind of a mentor to him.
“I was kind of young and Chuck took me under his wing and kind of put me in the right direction,” Bird said. “He had the patience of Job. I never saw him lose his temper. It took a whole lot to push his buttons. That is one of the things he tried to instill in me.”
Bird admits that Davis famous patience was a good thing for him as a rookie police officer.
“If it wasn’t for that I might not have a job. I’m sure I was a pain in his rear,” Bird said laughing.
Davis left law enforcement for a brief time in the early 2000s but returned as a detective for the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department starting in 2003.
Davis remained in that position until June 2010 when he was named Whitley County 911 Director. It was an agency that Davis knew well. He was a founding member of the Whitley County 911 Board when it started in 1994. In addition to serving as 911 Director Davis also served as Chief of the Whitley County Police Department until Feb. 12, 2014 when he resigned due to health problems.
“My health won’t allow it any more. There is no other reason. I always said if I can’t do it, I won’t do it,” Davis said in a 2014 interview.
During the Whitley County Fiscal Court’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday, the fiscal court unanimously approved a resolution honoring Davis for his commitment to his community.
“WHEREAS, Mr. Davis is remembered for helping his friends and neighbors in their time of need. Mr. Davis was a true servant of the people. He is remembered for his kindness to those who could offer nothing in return and for his tough, but fair hand when it was required. In recent days, Mr. Davis has been described in many different ways, protector, police officer, hero, friend, husband, father and ‘Pop Pop.’ In 2014, when Mr. Davis decided to retire from public service, he found no greater joy in life than spending time with his wife, children and his beloved granddaughters…” the resolution reads in part.
“… Now therefore be it resolved this 16th day of February, 2016 … The Whitley County Fiscal Court recognizes and honors Mr. Charles Davis for always having the best interest of Whitley County in mind, his kind hearted leadership and his faithful service to this community. “
Davis is survived by his wife, Jane Butcher of Williamsburg; a son, Charles Davis; and three daughters, Erin Butcher Hjersted, Reagan Butcher and Elizabeth Mills.
Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Croley Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. James Hodge and Rev. Weyman McGuire officiating.
Burial will follow in the Croley Addition of the Highland Park Cemetery.
Timmy Shelley, Todd Shelley, Denny Shelley and Harold Hicks served as pallbearers.
Croley Funeral Home is in charge of all arrangements.