Raising the Shield: Meet a local family of blue bloods serving decades in law enforcement

Posted at 11:31 PM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 23:31:39-05

"Open the door now," shouts a sheriff's deputy.  During a tense early morning raid in Isle of Wight County last month, Sgt. Kim Davenport and her deputies serve search warrants at a suspected drug house.

"One in custody, bringing one out," says one deputy.

After a months-long operation comes to a peaceful close.

But most days start with office work and roll call for Sgt. Davenport.

This is where the commanding officer hands out assignments and ties up loose ends from the previous shift. Davenport typically works nights, commanding 3-5 deputies. Her modest team is responsible for covering 363 square miles, everything from robberies to domestic disturbances. When any one of the roughly 35,000 residents call 911, Davenport or one of her deputies races to their aid.

I spent some time with the Sgt. over the last few months, getting to know her and her family. After several trips out to Isle of Wight, what I can tell you is this:  The Davenports are genuinely kind people who, at their core, really want to help the people in their community.

Kim has a contagious laugh and upbeat, lighthearted personality, not what I expected from a 9-year veteran who has seen the best and worst in people. She says "I've had people point guns at me, I've had people throw knives at me, but what really upsets me the most is when there are kids involved, that's what really gets me."

Maybe Davenport's easy-going attitude comes from the fact that she grew up in a law enforcement family. Her dad was a Smithfield cop.  She says "watching him and the guys he worked with, I knew that's what I wanted to do." And Davenport also married a police officer. Her husband Tim is a K-9 officer with Virginia State Police and his dad and grandfather are retired cops. Tim's mom is currently a Chesapeake officer.

While the 'Bluebloods" TV show is glamorous and dramatic, the Davenports tell me real police work is not most of the time. They say it's hard work being away from family during the holidays, working odd hours and putting yourself in harm's way nearly every day.

"You deal with that stabbing. You deal with that domestic, that crazy person, says Tim. And that's a normal day. Kim says it's tough when you're trying to help people and they call you every name in the book. She says she'd never want her 6-year-old daughter to hear how some people talk to her when she's on the job.

Tim's dad, who's retired from the Suffolk police department, says, "You have to have it in your heart. You're not going to be rich, you're not going to work an 8-hour day. You're going to do things that people have no idea that you do."

Many call them heroes but they don't see it that way.

"You don't ever talk about anything being heroic. That's not why we do it. We do it to help people and I think that's what appealed to me is the helping people. It might not always be pleasant."

IMG_0008If you've seen the TV show, you know the family dinner is the cornerstone of every show. But Davenport tells me they rarely sit down for dinner together. She works nights and Tim works days so it's a rare but special occasion for them to gather around the dinner table. It makes you appreciate it more when you get to sit down together even like this and spend time together. It makes you appreciate it more," Davenport says.

With all the interesting cases they both work, I asked them if it was hard *not* to talk about their jobs. "We normally try not to talk about it at home because we have our little one as well. We want to spend time with her. We want to make sure when we're off, we're off," Tim says.

I had to ask her 6-year-old daughter if she was doing to follow in her parents' footsteps.  She shook her head, a definitive no.  "She doesn't want to be a police officer when she grows up," says the Sgt. I asked their little one why not and her mom answered, "Because we work too much!"