We will never forget
From Staff Reports
Social media websites for law enforcement agencies across Shelby County were flooded last week with well-wishes and prayers for the Pelham Police Department, its officers and family members of the first Pelham officer killed in the line of duty five years ago.
On Dec. 3, 2009, Pelham officer Philip Davis was shot and killed by Bart Wayne Johnson during a traffic stop on Interstate 65 shortly before midnight. The event marked one of the most tragic in Shelby County’s history, as the senseless act destroyed two families and left Davis’ wife and children without their husband and father.
From all accounts we’ve heard, Davis was an extremely dedicated, hard-working and professional officer who selflessly gave of himself each and every time he donned the blue uniform.
But at the same time, he was also known among his peers for his sense of humor and quick wit, often creatively filling out incident reports and pulling pranks on his fellow officers.
Since Davis was killed, Shelby County and Pelham have taken several steps to ensure the officer’s sacrifice will not be forgotten.
A few years ago, Pelham renamed Church Street – on which the Pelham Police Department is located – to Philip Davis Street, and the Alabama Department of Transportation renamed a stretch of I-65 as the “Philip Davis Memorial Highway.”
Drivers traveling north on I-65 pass a sign marking the approximate location of the fatal traffic stop, and the sign frequently is decorated with a wreath or rose in Davis’ honor.
In October 2012, Pelham also added Davis’ name to the city’s memorial obelisk at Pelham City Park, as another way to honor his memory.
On each anniversary of the incident, the Pelham Police Department places a wreath in the department’s lobby for several days before moving the wreath to Davis’ grave on the following Sunday – which happened on Dec. 7.
We join the city and county in honoring Davis memory, and we continue to keep the family in our thoughts and prayers. Like them, we will never forget.