MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - For more than 25 years he's fought crime in the city of Memphis. Chief Deputy Joe Scott was honored as he retired Wednesday morning, and his shoes will be tough to fill.
Chief Deputy Scott joined MPD in 1987. Since then he's held nearly every position, and worked in most departments. But it was his nearly 10 years in homicide that he'll remember most.
Director Toney Armstrong said when Chief Deputy Joe Scott told him he was retiring, Armstrong wouldn't accept it. Scott has been a right hand man since Armstrong took the director position last year, and through most of his career, in robbery and homicide, Scott has been by his side.
"When you are to rise to that level and to grow to depend on a person for their work ethic and everything they bring to the department, it's tough to say goodbye," Armstrong said.
But the Director said goodbye on April 25 at the Criminal Justice Center; the short ceremony was no measure of the cop's lengthy and accomplished career.
"Memphis is a great place to work," Scott said, "I loved every minute of it here, but I knew it was time to do something else."
In his 25 years with Memphis Police, he received a Life Saving Medal and an award for an exceptional clearance rate for solving homicides. The former Chief Deputy says the homicide years were his most memorable.
"I dealt with a lot of cases, some I wished I had never been involved in; they take a personal toll, you have to be dedicated to that work. My good friend Lt. Vidiluch's murder bothered me a lot and still does," he said. "There are cases, I look back and I don't always remember the names, but I remember at 2 a.m. getting called up seeing a young man laying in the middle of the street and his life gone."
In his time with the homicide department, the solve rate increased from 72 to 88 percent. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Domestic Assault Response Team and Felony Assault Unit. Plus, he was also actively involved in Blue CRUSH since its inception.
But Scott says a total of 31 years in law enforcement is enough, and it's time to say goodbye.
"I prided myself in doing a good job here, I lived to work and now I'm just living."
Scott says the department is moving in the right direction.
He isn't sure what he'll do now. He and his wife are training for the Memphis in May Triathlon; after that, he'll take it one day at a time.