KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – It was a special celebration for a Knoxville police officer Friday as he ended his half-century tenure.

People gathered at KPD headquarters to celebrate Sgt. Phillip Wayne Bell who, after 53-plus years with the force, is retiring.

Bell started in 1966 – and was probably best known for his “Eye in the Sky” program letting folks in our city know about accidents from the view of a helicopter.

Those who served with him say he is a gift to the city.

“He’s a wonderful man,” said Knoxville city judge John Rosson. “I am honored to have the opportunity to work with him, he’s an asset to the city, to the public, and the Knoxville Police Department. He’s a great man and we miss him a lot.”

July 19 will now be known in the city of Knoxville as “Sgt. Wayne Bell Day.”