VANDALIA — Vandalia’s Police Chief of 30 years, Douglas Knight, died unexpectedly on Friday due to a sudden illness. Knight, 67, was due to retire in June after 37 years of service to the city.
“As a person, as an organization, as a community, we are heartbroken,” said Jon Crusey, Vandalia city manager. “Doug fell in love with the people of Vandalia and he made it his life’s work to serve and protect them.”
Knight was hired as a patrol officer by the City of Vandalia in 1979 and promoted to sergeant and then deputy police chief in 1984. After a short stint as deputy police chief at the University of Cincinnati, Knight returned to Vandalia to become chief in 1988. Knight also served in the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and as a campus police officer at Ohio State University during a 46 year career in law enforcement.
Knight earned his undergraduate degree in criminal justice at the University of Dayton and received a master of arts degree from Central Michigan University with a major in management and supervision. He is a graduate of the 161st Session of the FBI National Academy as well as the inaugural session of the Law Enforcement Foundation’s Police Executive Leadership College.
Shortly after his retirement was announced, Knight spoke about the career he loved.
“I’ve had the blessing to get up every single day excited about coming to work for 37 years, 30 as police chief,” said Knight. “To look back at a 46 year career in law enforcement and think what else could I have done, I can say with absolute certainty there’s nothing else I would liked to have done.”
Knight said there are few places where being a police officer or police chief is better than Vandalia.
“This has to be one of the finest police chief opportunities in the state without a doubt,” Knight said. “I’ve traveled across the country, visited dozens of agencies, know hundreds of police chiefs and very few of them have enjoyed anything better than I have here in Vandalia. We have always had supportive city managers and staff, supportive mayors and city councils. The common denominator is we all wanted to provide the best possible service to Vandalians.”
“Chief Knight’s community leadership stretches much farther than his role with the City of Vandalia,” said City Manager Jon Crusey.
Crusey noted that Knight has been a longtime member and past president of the Vandalia Lions Club, a member of the Vandalia-Butler Historical Society, Vandalia Sister Cities and the Vandalia-Butler Chamber of Commerce. He is also a past board member of the Vandalia-Butler Foundation and is an active parishioner at St. Christopher Church.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Colleen, his children Steven and Erin, and the rest of the Knight family during this very difficult time,” Crusey said.
Funeral arrangements are pending and will be announced when available.
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.