For several decades, this has been a truism in St. Louis: if you’re a public official and Elliott Davis shows up with his cameraman, you’re not having a good day.

Elliott has done the “You Paid For It” segments on KTVI-2, sticking his microphone in the faces of bureaucrats and politicians to ask them tough questions — about corruption, stupid policies, and other things that cost taxpayers money — and not backing down until he got an answer. Even then, he wasn’t afraid to put their phone numbers up on the screen and urge his viewers to call and bug them until they fixed whatever was wrong.

But now those bureaucrats and politicians can relax a bit because Elliott has decided to retire after 45 years in the TV news business. When I heard his announcement, I went back into my archives and found a fun conversation I had with Elliott on my radio show about the stories he did, the results he got, and how he held those public servants accountable.

As I know from my own career, no one stays on the air doing that kind of work without the support of management, both in the newsroom and the front office. Fortunately, as Elliott explained, they had his back from day one. He also talked about the story that almost got him killed — the bullet intended for him ended up in the shoulder of his photographer, Larry Washington, who survived a very close call but was out for two years.

Listen to our conversation here.