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Police departments gather to mourn the loss, say goodbye to fellow officer

By Ed Brock

Clayton County Police Sgt. Michael Davis has a new assignment, said his former chief, on the corner of Love and Peace Streets.

“There is no crime in heaven, but they still have a need for police officers to work pedestrian traffic on the streets of gold,” Chief Darrell Partain said to the mourners gathered Saturday for Davis' “home-going service.”

Last Tuesday Davis became the first Clayton County officer since 1959 to die while doing his duty. At 1:30 a.m. he was traveling down Tara Boulevard when his patrol car hit another vehicle, flipped several times and came crashing to a fatal halt in the median.

On Saturday, Davis' comrades joined his family at Salem Bible Church East in Lithonia to mourn his loss.

They remembered 40-year-old Davis as the Army soldier turned peacekeeper who had been on the department for 17 years. They remembered him as a son, and as a brother.

“What I have to understand is that it's not for me to understand why,” said Perry Davis, brother of the fallen officer.

On the night of the accident, Perry Davis said, he was at work having a perfectly normal night.

“All of a sudden a voice came into my head saying ‘I don't want to die. I'm afraid to die,'” Davis said.

Then he received a phone call from the Clayton County Police Department.

“I already knew what it was, before my supervisor gave me the phone, that Michael had gone on, I already knew,” Davis said.

The two men's sister, Shena Evans, remembered how Michael Davis had called her on her birthday a few days before the accident.

“He left me a message é he said I just wanted to let you know I love you and I'll talk to you later,” Evans said.

That was the last time she heard his voice.

“He left us doing what he loved to do,” Evans said, and then she broke into a gospel song that brought the crowd to its feet.

Clayton County Assistant Police Chief Jeff Turner said Davis was an excellent officer, but he was also “first and foremost my friend.”

“To be a police officer you have to be a special person, and Michael was a special person,” Turner said. “As police officers we have been ordained by God, as it says in Matthew 5:9, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.'”

Clayton County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell, dressed in a minister's robes, told Davis' mother Brenda Evans that she hadn't lost a son.

“Look about you,” Bell said. “As long as there is Jeff Turner, you have a son.”

Sheriff Victor Hill said that all law enforcement officers are trained to use their two-way radios to call for help, but sometimes those radios fail. However there is another radio they have that never fails, Hill said.

Prayer is a two-way radio to God that never loses its signal, the sheriff told the crowd, and on the night Davis died, a call for help went out to that “dispatch of the universe” as well as to Clayton County dispatch.

“And when that angelic force arrived they radioed back that Sgt. Michael Davis is 10-4, he's OK,” Hill said. “He's safe now because he's with us.”

Following the service a procession of vehicles from law enforcement agencies around the state carried Davis to Kennedy Memorial Gardens in Ellenwood where he was buried.