Law enforcement from across the country come to pay their final respects for Trooper Joel R. Davis

 

NYSP Trooper Joel Davis funeral

 

Large crowds of people gathered in downtown Watertown to pay their final respects to slain state police Trooper Joel R. Davis.  Trooper Davis was one of two killed on Sunday during a shooting incident on County Route 46,Theresa.  Also killed was Nichole Walters, wife of alleged shooter Justin D. Walters.  “I thought it would be the right thing to do to pay my respects,” said Stephen M. Washer II, while waiting on Public Square.  Mr. Washer said Trooper Davis’s brother Joshua is a “really well respected man in the Watertown Police Department” and wished to show respect and support to the family.  The procession traveled around the north side of Public Square before heading up Washington Street to Brookside Cemetery.  Earlier, a crowd of hundreds of law enforcement officers and community members attended a funeral at Fort Drum’s Magrath Sports Complex.  Pastor Shane Ryan, Watertown City Police officer, said Trooper Davis was a family man who protected his brother Joshua, loved his children Trenton, Caden, and Jaila and cared for his wife Suzanne.  “He always knew what to do when she had a rough day, or she was stressed out,” Pastor Ryan said.  He said Trooper Davis loved dancing with his children to songs from Notorious B.I.G., and playing them in mini golf.  “He was the champ at that,” Pastor Ryan said.  The pastor said Trooper Davis loved to have fun, recalling games of 2-on-2 football in the parking lot of a Tim Hortons.  He said being there at the hospital on Sunday for the Davis family as they learned what happened “was one of the worst experiences you can imagine.”  However, it reminded him that Trooper Davis, his family and grieving law enforcement were with each other in their time of sorrow.  “You realize you never walk alone,” he said.  State police Superintendent George P. Beach II said Trooper Davis was loved by the community, and was someone who took pride in his work.  “Joel knew this was a place he could make a difference, and he was good at it,” he said.  The superintendent said that Trooper Davis was dedicated to his family, at one point resigning from the state police academy to return home.  “He was willing to give up his dream to be with his loved ones,” he said.  Trooper Davis later returned to the academy and graduated on time with his class.  Superintendent Beach praised Trooper Davis’s heroism in response to the shooting on County Route 46, Theresa, that resulted in the loss of his life.  “He ran toward gunfire to protect the innocent and prevent further bloodshed,” he said.  “That is a trooper.  That is a hero.  That is bravery.”  The ceremony began with a performance of “Amazing Grace,” followed by readings from Psalm 23, the poem “The Dash” by Linda Ellis and Matthew 5:1-12.  Trooper Davis’s uniform, handcuffs, patch and badge are being displayed in shadow boxes on each side of his casket, sharing space with his hats representing his time as a state trooper and Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy.  A series of photos of the trooper on duty have been displayed along the wall, along with a large American flag.  Prior to the ceremony, law enforcement officials spoke to media about the fallen trooper.  Philip T. Rougeux, state police Troop D commander, said Trooper Davis was a hero.  “He definitely saved three lives that day,” he told media assembled before the funeral.  Superintendent Beach told media that he spoke to Trooper Davis’s father Friday, and added that the Davis family has appreciated the community’s support this week.  He noted the trooper who arrested Walters on Sunday night had been trained by Trooper Davis.  Jefferson County Sheriff Colleen M. O’Neill called Saturday a “sad day,” and said her office and Watertown city police are comforted seeing representatives at the funeral from departments across the United States and Canada.  Law enforcement have come to the department from as far away as California, Utah and North Carolina.  Also in attendance are representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Law enforcement in attendance gathered in formation prior to entering the gym for the funeral.  Among those in attendance was Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

7/19/17

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