Opp’s Chief Shaw retiring Oct. 31

Published 12:08 am Wednesday, October 1, 2008

He’s been shot once, stabbed three times and in one head-on collision, and on Oct. 31, Opp Police Chief Bill Shaw will hand over his badge and say at last, he’s retired.

Shaw, whose retirement will end a more than 30-year career in law enforcement, has served as Opp’s chief since 1999. He began his career in 1975 as a deputy for the Covington County Sheriff’s Office. He left there in 1979 to become Opp’s first criminal investigator before returning to the sheriff’s office in 1983. He served there until 1991 before transferring back to Opp.

“I always wanted to be a cop,” Shaw said. “But my mother had always asked me not to be in law enforcement. She had heart problems. So I didn’t. I started out as a route supervisor for Bonnie Plants — about as far away from being a cop as you can get.”

However, the draw to law enforcement was too much for Shaw to ignore.

“It just called to me,” he said. “I had gotten married in 1974 to my wife, Judy, who was from Opp. I went to Troy and majored in psychology and history and I became a cop.”

During his tenure as an officer, Shaw has seen the emergence of drugs in local society, crimes of every nature and how a single incident can impact a family’s life forever. One such case that will forever linger in the back of his mind is that of missing Opp teen Kemberly Ramer.

Ramer disappeared from her father’s Opp home on August 15, 1997.

“I’ve seen the drug problem come through this county; how it’s made its way from cocaine to meth,” he said. “I’ve seen good times and a lot of sad times. I’ve had to police our own organization and arrest people from my own department. I’ve seen things that you wouldn’t believe and things that would break your heart.

“One of those is the Ramer case,” he said. “It’s the kind of case that sticks with you — not knowing where she is. I feel strongly for her parents. We’ve worked tips on that case diligently over the years — thousands of them. We’re still searching today. That case will always remain open until she comes home.”

Shaw said it was hard to condense a 33-year career into a few brief stories, but he was thankful for the time he has spent as a police officer.

“I’ve seen a lot come and go,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of fun. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and wouldn’t change a thing, but I’ve decided it’s time to retire.”

Shaw said he plans to enjoy spending time with his wife who recently retired after a more than 30-year career as a teacher with the Opp City School System.

“It’s past time to sit back and enjoy life,” he said. “I think the both of us deserve it. At some point it’s time to change gears. I’ve been in this long enough.

“I’ve been shot once, cut three times and in one head-on collision,” he said. “Life has been good to me. It’s time to enjoy some of it.”