Longtime Hamilton police officer dies

Detective Mel Gray HAMILTON POLICE DEPARTMENT
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Detective Mel Gray HAMILTON POLICE DEPARTMENT

A longtime Hamilton police officer has died, the department announced over the weekend.

Hamilton police said Saturday, “It is with great sadness, that we inform you of the passing of Detective Mel Gray.”

Gray, 60, of the Oxford area, had been member of the department since 1990, “and will be missed by all of his brothers and sisters in law enforcement,” according to the department’s social media post.

Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit said Gray was a “rock-solid officer that could be counted on in any situation. We are going to miss him deeply.”

Bucheit said Gray was a private person and “pretty quiet by nature.”

“He didn’t say a lot. He didn’t need to. His work and character said it all,” Bucheit said. “As good as he was at his work, you need only to meet his wife and four children to know he was also and incredible husband and father,” the Chief said.

Former Hamilton Police Chief Neil Ferdelman, who retired in 2012 and is now chief at the Greenhills Police Department, worked with Gray for years.

“I can’t believe he is gone, it is really hard to believe,” Ferdelman said. He began working with Gray when the patrol sergeant and Gray worked the same shift.

Ferdelman remembered Gray as a man of few words. But he said he saw a whole different side to Gray when he applied to become a community oriented officer in the city’s north end.

“He was just spectacular. He really opened up with children,” Ferdelman said. “It was rather unexpected that he applied for the position because he was always rather stoic and quiet. Really he was a friendly guy and enjoyed working with people.”

Hamilton Public Safety Director and former Hamilton Police Chief Scott Scrimizzi also worked many years with Gray as part of the department’s SWAT team.

“I did know Mel from the day he started … It is just a shame, a real loss,” Scrimizzi said.

Gray was a perfectionist on the job, no matter want the assignment, he said.

“He was an outstanding patrol officer, he was an outdoors man, a hunter and marksman, so we picked him up for the team (SWAT). He was one of our snipers, one of the best shots on the team and also a firearms instructor,” Scrimizzi said.

When Gray was promoted to the detective bureau, he also used that perfection in processing crime scenes, Scrimizzi said.

“A lot of people don’t like doing the crime scenes. It’s very meticulous job and that was Mel, meticulous and a perfectionist,” he said.

ajc.com

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