A recently retired police officer passed away last week from a lengthy illness.

A 24-year veteran officer of the Valdosta Police Department, Raymond “Ray” Disabatino died Friday. He had retired from the department in December 2008 due to his failing health and relocated to Florida to be with family.

Disabatino started his career with the Valdosta Police Department in 1984 as a patrol officer. He worked many years as a road patrol officer before he transferred to the DUI task force.

Disabatino was described as an integral part of the DUI task force and made more than 250 DUI arrests in less than two years.

Disabatino later became a detective in the property crimes unit, where he investigated offenses such as burglary and forgery.

His last assignment with the Valdosta Police Department was in the Professional Standards division, where he worked with permit enforcement and conducted other administrative duties.

“Ray was a very dedicated police officer and city employee,” Lt. Bobbi McGraw stated in a press release. “He took a lot of pride in his work, and he put forth a tremendous effort every day to get the job done. He will be greatly missed by all his fellow co-workers and the many people he met over his 24-year career with the City of Valdosta.”

Cmdr. Brian Childress added, “Ray worked with me in Professional Standards and he was one of the most loyal and dedicated employees I ever had. I will miss him dearly.”

A memorial service for Disabatino is to be Saturday in Orlando, Fla., where his daughter resides.

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