Salute The Badge: Longtime lawman now singing different note

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By: WCTV Eyewitness News
August 14, 2018

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) -- For nearly five decades, Bobby Key has walked the beat as a police officer, a sheriff's deputy and a US Marshal.

Key has been in law enforcement since he was 22, including 20 years with the Tallahassee Police Department and five with both the Leon and Wakulla County Sheriff's Offices.

Now at 81, he's Chaplain for the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office, providing guidance and advice to officers.

"I've got things in my poor head now that was confessed to me way back when I was a Chaplain of the Leon County Sheriff's Office. I've had people confess murders to me," he said.

Key found religion at age 34 after attending a church service for the first time.

"I said, 'I'm going to tell you here, if that God, that Jesus you preached about can change my life, then I want to be changed,'" he recalled.

That's when he decided to become a pastor and he's been preaching for 47 years.

"God called me to preach," he said.

Key and his wife also spread the word through song, at Ricky's Steakhouse in Bainbridge, Georgia.

"We can pack about 50 people in the back of this house. This is where we do the singing," he said.

Ricky Gibson is the general manager.

"I've been knowing Bobby for maybe 10 or 15 years," he said. "We've been doing the gospel music on and off for about 10 years."

Gibson says his customers love the music, so when Key approached about a different kind of celebration, he was all ears.

"Try to have uniformed men there and honor them that night at the gospel," Key explained.

His goal is to honor a different officer during the gospel song every first Sunday of the month; shedding light on the people behind the badges.

"You can't judge all cops based on a corrupt cop," he said. "Maybe he didn't need to be a cop."

For his passion to serve the people over six decades, we salute Chaplain Bobby Key.

He has preached in more than 150 churches as a Chaplain and calls himself a "Christian Cop," because he truly believes his calling is policing and preaching.

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