ROEBUCK, Ala. — The longest-serving officer in the history of the Birmingham Police Department has retired after 49 years of patrolling the city's streets.
Hundreds of people gathered at Parkway Christian Fellowship in Roebuck Monday to bid farewell to Nolan Shivers, 72, who joined the department in 1958.
"I feel sadness, and I feel joy," Shivers said. "I feel sad I'm leaving all of my friends, and I'm joyful I'm getting away from homicides and robberies. I've seen enough bloodshed to last a lifetime."
Shivers, who has served under eight police chiefs, finishes his career with only two citizen complaints and without having a wreck in his patrol cruiser. The death of his friend, slain police Officer Carlos Owen, starting weighing heavily on him about a month ago. Owen was one of three police officers fatally gunned down while serving a misdemeanor warrant at an Ensley drug house in 2004.
"I got to thinking that could happen to me," Shivers said.
He said his fondest law enforcement memories were about helping people.
Two years ago, Shivers saw a man and woman stopped on the side of the road with a flat tire. When he stopped to help, the man told him his mother needed to get to the hospital to see her dying husband and that she only had minutes before visiting hours ended.
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"I said 'By all means, get in,'" Shivers said. "I put my lieutenant in the back seat and drove her to the hospital. She had tears rolling down her face when she got out of the car."