City unveils street sign for beloved police officer who served 44 years, 26 in Middletown schools

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Oct. 14—If not for two persistent police officers most Middletown residents may not have heard of Mike Davis.

He joined the Middletown Division of Police as a cadet in 1966 and served as a motorcycle police officer and narcotics detective. Years later, Harvey Poff approached Davis about taking over his position as a school police officer when he retired.

Davis had no interest in shifting roles, he said.

"I can't do that," he told Poff.

But Ernie Howard and Poff finally wore Davis down. After four days of discussions, Davis agreed to take the position.

He retired from the police department in 2011 after 44 years of service. For 26 of those years, Davis was a school resource officer and ran Patrolman Jack Combs Memorial Safety Town, a free summer program that teaches students entering kindergarten about street and bus safety.

On Wednesday, Davis, who died in 2013 at the age of 65, was posthumously honored when the Middletown Middle/High School entrance off Manchester Road was named Officer Mike Davis Memorial Way.

Poff joked that it was ironic that a portion of the road was renamed because Davis was well-known for issuing traffic tickets when he saw a motorist making an illegal left turn out of the school parking lot onto eastbound Manchester Road.

After several people talked about Davis and his love of children, his widow Bev Davis pulled a rope that removed a large purple sheet that covered the street sign.

"It just makes me so happy," Davis, 70, said after the ceremony. "My husband loved Middletown. He loved the kids."

They were married for 27 years and she said it was common for her husband to get off work, change clothes, get a call about "a troubled kid," and return to work.

"That's why I loved him so much," she said. "He would do anything for anybody."

Chief David Birk, who joined the force in 1997, said Davis had a relationship with students that lasted for decades.

"To this day, I still have people say, 'I had Mike Davis in Safety Town,' " the chief said.

Howard said Davis embraced his position in the Middletown City School District.

"It wasn't a job to him," Howard said. "It was his calling."

Kristy Duritsch, executive director of the Safety Council of Southwestern Ohio, said she constantly thinks about Davis and called the street sign "a small way to memorialize" him.

"Nothing will capture the feeling he had for this community," she said. "We remember him with love and warmth in our hearts."

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Rick McCrabb

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