He’s Loudon County through and through. Born 48 years ago and reared by his hard-working parents – Jim and Arbra Davis. And they obviously passed along their work ethic to their son – James David Davis II. Around Loudon County he’s known as Jimmy.
Jimmy Davis is the chief deputy of the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO). He’s in his 26th year there, haven risen through the ranks from corrections to patrol to assistant chief in 2005. In 2017, he became Sheriff Tim Guider’s go-to deputy chief.
A veteran LCSO sergeant refers to Davis as “a cop’s cop.” That’s high praise.
“In my mind I’m still on patrol and even when I’m off, I’m on (duty),” Davis says. “This job is 24/7 and I’ve been to incidents in my flip-flops and shorts. It’s my responsibility. I’m here to support my guys, all of them. First and foremost, I take care of our people and the people of this county.”
And he adds: “I love what I do. It’s the old cliché of helping people and being a servant. To serve is to honor people.”
He’s never wanted to live or work anywhere else. He graduated from Lenoir City High in 1990 and was an outside linebacker on its football team. At 15 he began working in what was the old Homestead Restaurant on Martel Road, owned and run by his parents. The family lived close by in Cedar Hills subdivision. After graduation he spent two years as a cook at the original Aubrey’s in Farragut. Then he joined the Sheriff’s Office.
Interestingly, his sister, Michelle Vann, also works at LCSO – as a dietician. Davis is married to Callie and they both have 22-year-old sons from previous marriages. Trey Davis is in the 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and Callie’s son, Caleb Elder, works for the Lenoir City Utilities Board.
In addition to being “on patrol” Davis oversees the department’s $10 million budget. He prepares and presents it to Loudon County Commission for approval annually. His job also includes managing the criminal investigations, corrections, and narcotics divisions and the jail. He has a busy office.
“Jimmy is very knowledgeable and extremely dedicated to our department and to the law enforcement profession, and as sheriff I particularly so much appreciate his commitment and his loyalty,” Sheriff Guider said of his deputy.
Davis has been in and out of the office of late, recovering from shoulder surgery three weeks ago.
He counts his 2019 graduation from the National FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, as a highlight of his career. Only 1% of law enforcement officers ever attend and graduate from the academy and he’s the first ever from the LCSO to be invited.
“I wanted to expand my skills and knowledge in leadership and in other areas to help our department,” Davis said. “Learning things from people from around the country and world was fascinating. In one class I was sitting next to a state police chief from Afghanistan and I thought to myself about where this East Tennessee boy is right now.”
For the past seven years Davis has ridden in the annual Police Unity Tour to honor fallen officers and especially Loudon County Deputy Jason Scott, who was shot and killed in 2004. It is a 320-mile bicycle ride from New Jersey to the Fallen Officers Wall in Washington, D.C. The Covid pandemic forced the cancellation of this year’s ride, but he hopes it will resume in 2021.
Remember the “cop’s cop” quote from the sergeant? That same sergeant added this about Davis: “… He’s one of those leaders who shows up 24/7 when the crap hits the fan – you will see him show up and offer support to the guys on the ground to help them out, and he does this all of the time.”
Tom King has served at newspapers in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and California and has been the editor of two newspapers. He writes this Monday column – Our Town Heroes –for KnoxTNToday.com. Suggest future stories at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 865-659-3562.