TIFTON — Police Chief Buddy Dowdy’s last day on the job was Monday, Sept. 30. The Tifton Police Department sent him off in style.

Dowdy served with the TPD for 37 years, rising through the ranks from officer to chief of police.

“This retirement celebration is our way of telling him and showing him that he has been good to us and we appreciate his leadership through the years,” said Captain Steve Hyman, who has worked with Dowdy for decades and said Dowdy has been his best friend for most of his life. “For Chief Dowdy this is a special day that we all know is well-earned.”

Hyman said that everyone would miss Dowdy’s leadership, wit and sense of humor.

“Every time something happens, he’s got a joke or he’s got something he can tell us,” Hyman said. “His sense of humor through the years has done us good. It’s made us feel good during times where we didn’t feel good, so we appreciate that.”

Several of the individuals who spoke at the send-off talked about how Dowdy had fought battles for them and the community at different times.

“He’s done a lot for us,” Hyman said. “He’s been a good leader. He’s been a good chief, and he’s a good man. He proved that to us every single day.”

“He’s fought battles for us every day,” said Tifton Mayor Julie Smith, then told a story about how he’d used his wit and sense of humor to diffuse a tense situation without her realizing it. “He’s just always looked out for all of us that way with his own subtle, Buddy Dowdy ways…I’m just so proud that I had the opportunity to serve this community with you. You’ve been a dear, dear friend.”

City council members Jack Folk, Wes Ehlers, Johnny Terrell and Frank Sayles, as well as several coworkers and members of the TPD, each spoke, telling a story or relating their appreciation for Dowdy’s tenure as chief.

Dowdy was presented with several gifts to kick off his retirement, including a smoker grill he said would be put to use directly.

“I can’t begin to tell you what you folks in this room have meant to me,” he said. “I want to recognize my beautiful bride, Rebecca. I close one door and open another one. I take one step and I take another one, and the rest of them I’ll take for the rest of my life will be with her. I’m really looking forward that… Serving the city, working with the city, working with and for you guys has been the thrill of my life.”

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