If it seems like something has been missing on campus, but you can't put your finger on it. You're right. Longtime William & Mary Police Captain Ed Davis retired a few weeks ago.
For nearly 20 years Davis' presence was felt on campus. Major events, minor crises…Davis was there. It wasn't easy for his colleagues to let him go. Members from across the William and Mary community, as well as representatives from local law enforcement agencies, came to campus Jan. 30 to say "thanks" and "good luck" – a testament to his contributions.
"As we stand here today it seems evident I will not receive the last minute change of heart that I had hoped for," William & Police Chief Don Challis told the crowd, pausing to give his colleague another moment to reconsider.
Davis only smiled.
"Ed, what you have meant to the profession, the College, the department, and to me personally cannot be expressed well by a person of my limited ability," Challis the audience gathered to celebrate Davis' career with the college. "At the end of the day all I can say about Ed is that he was a terrific cop. But more importantly he is a better friend."
Along with the accolades, there were funny stories.
Challis, who has worked with Davis for six years, recounted the story of Davis' first weekend on the job when he was called at the police department and told to pick up the Sunday paper for a top administrator at the college. "While I was not there," Challis said. "I can just imagine the conversation. Suffice it to say from that day forth WMPD was no longer in the newspaper delivery business."
"Any success that I enjoyed during my time at the William and Mary Police Department can be directly attributed to each of you," Davis wrote his colleagues in a parting email. "No one goes through this life by themselves. You guys made things easy for me. I was very lucky to have you folks working hard to make me, the Chief and the department look good. For that I thank you! It is because of your caring and dedication to the job that a one-time glorified security outfit is now a truly professional police organization."
Succeed Davis did. His career at William and Mary saw Davis rise from police officer in 1990 to his ultimate promotion in 2005 to captain. In 2007 he was recognized with the Charles and Virginia Duke Award, on award given annually to recognize exceptional devotion to William and Mary by a non-student, non-instructional faculty employee.
It was an apt and deserving reward. Davis was nothing if not completely devoted to the college during his career here. Even facing retirement he was thinking more about the department’s future than his own, reminding his colleagues the department will be what they make it.
"I can't stress enough that it will be you guys who make the department what it will be in the future," he noted in the email. "The success or failure of the organization will not rise or fall on the back of one or two people. It will be the collective effort of all of you that causes you and the department to succeed."