Being a part of someone’s life is important, but being a part of a child’s life can be life-changing. Officer Kenny Davis has taken that message to heart for decades.
Davis recently retired from the Craig County Sheriff’s Office on July 31, after two decades of service.
Locals agree that he was honest and a man of integrity. He lived up to the policeman’s creed: “I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith and I accept it as a public trust to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of the police service. I will constantly strive to achieve these objectives and ideals, dedicating myself to my chosen profession…law enforcement.”
Davis was hired by the Craig County Sheriff’s Office on July 1, 2000, as a Deputy Sheriff and School Resource Officer. “I was hired specifically for the School Resource Officer (cop in the school) position through an initial grant,” he said.
Davis began Cardinal Criminal Justice Academy, a 22-week course, on July 3. After graduating in November, he attended School Resource Officer school for two weeks and also D.A.R.E. School later in the year.
“I began working at the school in late November 2000,” he said. “I worked at the school during the school year and on the road as a patrol officer when school was closed.”
While his position at the school entailed many things, his first responsibility was to provide security when needed.
“I patrolled the interior and exterior of the school on a regular basis throughout the day. I was present during lunch to help monitor the students and deal with any issues that might arise,” he explained. “Many times I would sit with the students and talk about their day, let them vent if they needed to or simply joked around with them.”\
He also taught D.A.R.E. to the fifth-grade students and Juvenile Law to the middle and high school students.
Said Davis, “Over the years, I also coached JV girls’ basketball and softball. I assisted with varsity girls’ basketball and softball too. I coached the forensics team which involved drama, speech and skits. I helped chaperone dances and the after-prom party.”
Davis was the sponsor of YOVASO (Youth of Virginia Speak Out) Club. “The group received much recognition because of their efforts,” he shared. “I mentored many students throughout the years. I did my best to try to set a good example and always being mindful that they were watching.”
Davis added that he worked with many “wonderful school leaders over the years,” from school board members to Superintendents, to Principals and Assistant Principals.
“I strived to develop a relationship of respect with each leader, knowing the importance of that relationship in doing what was best for the students,” he said. “I worked with and communicated with the teachers on a regular basis for they often were my eyes and ears and shared with me concerns for students and what they may be going through. It helped me steer a student in a different direction than they were headed.”
Still, his favorite part of my job was the kids, and anyone who knows Davis can attest to that.
“I have been asked often in the last few months what I was going to miss the most and I tell them, ‘my’ kids. I have so many ‘adopted’ sons and daughters that I have lost count,” he shared with heartfelt care. “I learned over the years that kids are brutally honest and if you don’t want to hear the truth, do not ask them.”
He added, “I came to see the tremendous talented kids that we have in this county from musicians, to singers, to athletes, to actor and actresses to the academic. The ‘outcast’ were some of the best kids I got to know. They were smart and extremely talented. My best advice I could give anyone who works with kids is, there are no hopeless cases. There may be difficult students that you have to work harder to reach but when you take the time to reach out you find a wonderful human being under the tough exterior.”
Davis as he continues to recollect, “I have seen students graduate and go on into the military, nursing, veterinarian, dental, business, teacher an honorable trade such as carpentry, machinery, train conductor, welder, brick layer, and the list could go on and on. Even though we are a small school, we have immense talent. I will truly miss the kids. I am not going to say our students were always perfect. They were far from it, but compared to what other schools dealt with, our kids were pretty good.”
“I also developed many wonderful friendships with the teachers over the years,” he added. “I would go into their classrooms during their planning periods and check on them to see how their days were going. Everyone needs a place to vent or simply share their concerns. I strived to be a confidant that they could share with, knowing that what they shared would not go any further. I will cherish the friendships I developed with these wonderful men and women who work so hard to help our students grow and mature.”
Outside of school, Davis noted, “I worked with many fine deputies over the years. I would trust my life to them, which we did each shift we worked. I learned so many valuable lessons from Jeff Huffman, Dan McPherson, Mitch Deskins and Dave Parks, and all veterans who shared their wisdom and experience.”
Davis also noted that he is the last deputy that served under Sheriff B.B. McPherson.
“I served under three different sheriffs, each bringing something valuable to the office,” he said. “I have not worked long with the deputies that are in the county now, but I do know that they are good deputies that are going to improve with experience. We are blessed to have them protecting us.”
Davis said that the most difficult part of his job was attending the funerals of students “who left us way to soon,” and going into homes with Social Services to remove children from the home. “Each time was necessary, but it was difficult when you have a little child sitting on your lap, crying because they don’t understand why they are being taken away from mommy and daddy,” he said.
“Transporting former students whose lives have been ruined by drug and alcohol abuse was also very difficult because I saw so much potential in them when they were in school,” he added. “Going to someone’s home when a loved one has died was difficult because you feel so helpless, knowing that at that point in time, nothing you say is going to help much.”
On the upbeat, Davis said he enjoyed the dances that he chaperoned, saying, “I enjoyed seeing the kids have a great time. Sitting with the seniors at lunch was a joy and often very eye-opening. I will have many, emotional scars from some of the conversations.”
“I will miss talking with the court staff and working alongside of my fellow deputies. The hardest part will be not standing with my brother officers in the face of adversity,” Davis said.” My prayer every day is that my Father in Heaven circles them with His Holy presence and protection.”
Davis added, “There are so many wonderful memories throughout the years. I will share two of them.”
The first involves Geoff Boyer, a teacher and the school’s play-by-play announcer at the football games.
“We were playing Parry McCluer on Friday night. We were winning and the Parry McCluer fans were not happy. The head referee came and told me that there were some men standing at the fence on the visitor side of the field, threatening him and his fellow officials. I walked over to the visitor side and told the men to move away from the fence to the bleachers for the rest of the game. Most of them complied but one turned and shouted at the officials that he would get them after the game. I told them man at that point that he would have to leave. I began walking him toward the exit. Mr. Boyer shares over the loudspeaker, ‘Officer Davis is escorting a Parry McCluer out of the game.’ I received a standing ovation from the home crowd, but the visitors were not happy. I wanted to wring Mr. Boyer’s neck for that one, but in retrospect it was funny.”
“Then, when I coached JV girls’ basketball, we defeated James River one night. It was the first time we had defeated James River since I had begun coaching. Danielle Rock, one of my players, ran across the court and jumped into my arms. I was not expecting it but thankfully Danielle was small, and I was able to catch her.”
He added that there were many memorable moments from graduations. “We had one skateboard into the graduation, one who walked with nothing but his graduation robe on, (did not find out until after the fact), one graduation with squirt guns, silly string, beach balls, noisemakers and so many more but there isn’t enough space. The Superintendent was not amused each time.”
Upon retirement, Davis shared that he has many home projects to do so he will be busy around the house as well as pastoring three churches.
“So, I will not have a lot of downtime,” he admitted smiling. “I do look forward to attending the ballgames when they are able to start again and I hope that my wife and I can do some things that we have wanted to do over the years, but have not been able to.”
In closing, “I would like to encourage my kids to continue to work hard in school, to try to be a better person tomorrow than you were today. Understand that life is not always fair, there will be adversity and there will be struggles. But there will be celebrations, victories, and mountain-top experiences along the way. Never quit, never stop trying to improve and never take anything for granted in life. Be thankful for all of your blessings. Remember I love you and you are in my prayers.”
He added, “I would like to thank the School Board for supporting the School Resource Officer program over the years. I would like to thank the teachers for your friendship and support over the years. I would like to thank B.B. McPherson for having faith in me and Clifford Davidson and Sheriff Trevor Craddock for their support. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to serve this county as Deputy Sheriff and School Resource Officer. It has been a wonderful and memorable journey.”
And finally, “Last, but not least I thank my Heavenly Father for His protection and guidance throughout my career and life.”