Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Thirty-year veteran says goodbye to the badge

A patrol sergeant with the Jonesborough Police Department said goodbye to a career of more than 20 years as the town wished him well during a retirement party at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center last Thursday.
“I think it’s super nice for the town to do it,” said Keith Reece, a.k.a. “P.K.” “It makes you feel good. It’s nice to know you are appreciated.”
Reece said what started off as an EMS profession, transferred into law enforcement in the late ‘80s. He said he got into law enforcement because of the friends he had who were police officers.
Reece, a Johnson City native, began working with the sheriff’s department in 1989 and remained a deputy sheriff’s patrol officer until 1993.
He moved his residence to Jonesborough 30 years ago.
“I’ve been with Jonesborough for 20 and a half years,” he said of the police department.
Reece said the officers he had working for him, as well as those on his shift, could not have been better. He referred to one of the officers as a good friend due to the amount of years they worked together. The other officer, a transplant from “up north,” Reece said, is a good guy to work with as well.
In addition to being a patrol sergeant, Reece was also an instructor for 10 years because he wanted to promote training and become more efficient in his own career.
He taught courses in criminal investigation, radar and driving.
In order to teach the driving course, Reece went to a specialized school at Walters State Community College in Greeneville. He said he taught officers with the Jonesborough Police Department, as well as other agencies. The driving instruction focused on classroom material and the Vanessa K. Free law, which certifies officers in Emergency Vehicle Operations.
Police Chief Matt Hawkins said the Vanessa K. Free law addresses requirements for training in emergency vehicle operations. It touches upon how to operate a vehicle while responding to an emergency call and standard state driving laws.
“One of the most dangerous tasks a first responder does is operates his or her vehicle,” he said.
The radar course, Reece said, teaches students about radar units and the frequencies on which it runs.
The criminal investigation course touched upon what the first responding officers have to do when they arrive at a criminal scene or criminal investigation scene. Reece said the course taught officers everything from finger printing to photographing the scene.
Field training was also on Reece’s resume over the past 20 years. He said any time a new officer went through the academy, he did regulated training. The training period was documented and if the officer did not do what was expected or perform at the correct level, he or she had to go through a remedial period.
“It keeps you up on what you’re supposed to do, as well as what they are supposed to do,” Reece said.
Although he took on various jobs while with the department, he said he enjoyed being a patrol sergeant within the Jonesborough city limits the most. He enjoyed the patrol, he said, because of the interaction with everyone.
Retirement for Reece is bittersweet.
“I will miss the job, miss what it entails and miss the people I work with,” he said of leaving the police department. “I have enjoyed the whole time I have been in law enforcement. It’s something different all the time.”
Now 60 years old, Reece said it was time to retire.
“I want to spend time with my grandchildren and family,” he said.
His retirement will kick off with a vacation to Pigeon Forge for five days with his wife and two grandchildren, 8 and 6 years old. Reece said he also has three beach trips planned and a cruise next winter.