With a heavy heart, Ferguson Police Chief D.J. Davis will leave Ferguson next week for another job.

Though he said he would have liked to stay in Ferguson, the decision became necessary for Davis to consider after talk of the city potentially being dissolved surfaced.

“When the tax thing came up and the mention of the dissolution of the city came up, I began to think, what am I going to do?” said Davis, who wouldn’t disclose details about the new job opportunity.

If Ferguson were to dissolve as an incorporated city — which hinges on the turnout of the upcoming November option election — Davis would have no longer have a job.

Several Ferguson residents delivered a petition to Mayor Allen Dobbs at the end of July with 173 names on it, requesting that the issue be put on the ballot. On Monday, County Clerk Ralph Troxtell certified 119 names, meaning that citizens of the fifth-class city will have the chance to vote on whether they want to keep the community as it is.

As the controversy swirled, Davis began looking for other job opportunities — and one in the law enforcement field arose that he ultimately couldn’t pass up.

So on August 24, Davis will park the Ferguson police cruiser for the last time after more than two years as the police chief.

Davis came to Ferguson on March 21, 2005, following the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department being contracted out for just over a year. Prior to that, Eddie Glover, now Burnside’s police chief, was working for Ferguson.

Before coming to Ferguson, Davis had worked in Monticello for 11 years as a patrol officer.

“I wish so bad I could have finished out my career in Ferguson,” said Davis, who could have retired in five years.

He described himself as a “target of opportunity” in the recent storm of issues enveloping Ferguson and said after the ad valorem tax, a type of property tax required by state law, passed, it seemed like complaints about his work became more common.

Davis said since talk about the tax began, he has even had damage to his personal vehicle and the police cruiser. Others had raised concerns about Davis’ salary. However, Davis doesn’t believe those people understood that there was a difference in the entire police budget of $60,000 and his salary, approximately $27,000, which is comparable with street officers at both the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department and the Somerset Police Department.

“The majority of people in Ferguson are really good people,” said Davis, “and I’ve became friends with a lot of people. However, there are some people in Ferguson who are cruel and vindictive, and no matter what you do, it’s not good enough.”

Davis explained he was working 40-plus hours, taking phone calls at all hours on his cell phone.

“I tried to help people and do what they ask, but some of it is beyond what a police officer should do,” said Davis.

Davis said answering calls on his cell phone had become an issue as well when city councilor Tony Deprato advised those at the August council meeting that anyone with an emergency should go through 911 instead of calling Davis directly, as many people had evidently been doing.

And though ultimately the tax and the petition to dissolve the city led to his departure, Davis reiterated that he feels the city is doing the right thing by implementing the tax — even though he’s not hopeful about the future.

“My honest opinion is that Ferguson will dissolve ... but I do think it’s a shame,” said Davis. “The people of Ferguson deserve better than that.”

And all in all, what he regrets most is having to leave the people he has made friends with, even as he is excited about the new experiences that come with the recently accepted position.

“I do want to thank those people for giving me this opportunity,” said Davis. “I’m leaving with a heavy heart.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Allen Dobbs said he is saddened about Davis’ coming departure, but he understands the reasons for it.

“Police Chief Davis is like everyone else and has bills to pay,” said Dobbs. “He has to think about himself and a good opportunity came along.”

Since learning of Davis’ upcoming departure, Dobbs has been working to make sure the city will have police protection, and has spoken with both the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department and the Kentucky State Police. Pulaski County Sheriff Todd Wood told Dobbs that if a citizen has any specific issues, they can contact him.

“At this time,” said Dobbs, “we have no plans to follow the hiring process of trying to hire a new chief.”

The only way a new hire would be made is if it was requested by Ferguson citizens or the council.

However, Dobbs said they may advertise in the next few weeks to start the hiring process, so that if they remain a city after November’s vote, they would have applicants. He said they will let people know about the city’s teetering future when taking applicants.

“I think it will be in our best interest to hold out for a little bit,” said Dobbs.

Trending Video

Recommended for you