OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) Today’s swearing in for new Daviess County Sheriff Barry Smith marks the end of an era for Daviess County law enforcement as the now former Sheriff, Keith Cain, looks back on his nearly five decades of service.

Former Sheriff Cain started as a deputy in the mid-1970s, working his way up to sheriff, which he’s held since the late 1990s.

Today, he recalled his time in law enforcement and those who served with him.

“What started out as a career became a life,” he said.

Cain said he didn’t want to go into law enforcement at first, choosing other careers after leaving the marines. But he felt something was missing.

“I just realized early on they didn’t fill a void that I had when I left the Marine Corps, that sense of camaraderie, being part of an organization much bigger than myself,” he recalled.

He joined the department in 1974 as a road deputy, and later moved to the drug task force, then to the investigations division. He says his only regrets come from the cases left unsolved.

“Sometimes the unfortunate reality is you’re just not able to do it. So, for the officers that work those cases and the families for those that are involved, I’ve always harbored that sense of regret,” says Cain.

Cain was first elected sheriff in 1998, running unopposed that year. He held that post until he made the difficult decision to retire this year.

“Is it difficult to walk away? Absolutely,” he said. “It’s all I’ve known my entire adult life, but I’m confident that it was the right decision.”

Cain says he plans on doing some law enforcement consulting, and spend more time with his family. He’s also thankful for his law enforcement family who has stood beside him his whole career.

“They serve for all the right reasons. They possess a servant’s heart. It is them that have made me look good,” says Cain. “It’s because of them that I know what we have built here together will continue and it will build and it will grow.”

Cain adds when he started his law enforcement career, he also applied to Kentucky State Police and Owensboro Police, but chose the sheriff’s office after they called him back first.

(This story was originally published on November 30, 2021)