Pelham Police mark one-year anniversary of Philip Davis’ death

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A year after Pelham Police officer Philip Davis arrived at work for his final shift, his co-workers, family members and friends will honor his memory in the station’s lobby.

Beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3, the department will set up a wreath and a photo of Davis in the lobby in memory of the officer who was shot and killed during a Dec. 3, 2009 traffic stop. Davis was the first Pelham Police officer killed in the line of duty in the city’s 45-year history.

“From 4 p.m. until a little after midnight, we will have an honor guard in the lobby with the memorial,” said Pelham Police Lt. Davy Lott. “Then, we will move the wreath to Philip’s grave at Southern Heritage on Saturday.

“He was shot on the third, but it was right at midnight, so his time of death was on the fourth,” Lott added. “We will be displaying the wreath, and a really nice framed photo of him, but we are just moving the wreath to his grave on the fourth.”

Because Davis typically worked the night shift, as he was the night he died, the department planned the memorial with his work schedule in mind, Lott said.

“He worked the night shift, so a lot of the officers he worked with still work that shift,” Lott said. “They wanted to be involved in the memorial, so starting it at 4 gives them a little bit of time to work their shift, go home and get some rest and get back here in time.”

Because this marks the first year the department has been without Davis for nearly five years, many officers have been sharing their memories about him for several months.

“With this being the first year, remembering Philip is something we do every day,” Lott said. “Of course, with the anniversary of his death coming up, it brings out a lot of emotions.

“We just wanted to do something for the officers, his family members and anyone else who wants to come remember him,” Lott added.

Bart Wayne Johnson, the man accused of shooting Davis during the traffic stop, remains in the Shelby County Jail with no bond. He is scheduled to stand trial for two counts of capital murder in the Shelby County Circuit Court Feb. 14, 2011.

He is charged with intentionally killing an on-duty police officer and intentionally causing death by shooting from an occupied vehicle.