It was a sight few had seen. Nobody had seen it in Ukiah since 1951: the funeral and memorial service for a fallen peace officer.
Mendocino Sheriff’s Deputy George R. Davis, 48, was shot and killed April 14, 1995 following a gun battle pitting himself and another deputy against a murder suspect, who also was killed. As Davis checked the suspect he was fatally shot from ambush by another suspect.
The memorial service began with a procession of motorcycles, patrol cars and other law enforcement and rescue vehicles. The procession stretched through Ukiah from the south end to the north end. People lined the streets, the sadness in their faces reflecting the loss they felt in their hearts.
The procession ended at Mendocino Community College. The college auditorium was filled with officers from around the state. The bleachers were filled with the families of local officers, the court and district attorney’s staffs and many who came to pay their respects to the fallen officer.
Speakers at the memorial service included Mendocino County Sheriff James Tuso, Lieutenant Charlie Bone, Lieutenant Rich Wiseman, Sergeant Jack Stapleton, Captain Burle Murray and many of Davis’ friends and brother deputies.
The ceremony was officiated by Rick Oliver, a retired peace officer who is now a local minister. His experience gave Oliver special insight into the working and private lives of peace officers, their hopes and fears and what motivates them to dedicate their working lives to serving and safeguarding the public.
Bob Davis was not your typical peace officer. He had already retired from the military after a distinguished career with the elite Navy Seals. Davis graduated from the police academy in Santa Rosa in December of 1987. On January 10, 1988, he began his second career with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department. After completing his field training, he was assigned to the North Area Substation.
He was well respected by his fellow deputies. Several of them recounted how much they had enjoyed working with Davis and how they were always comfortable knowing that he could and would do whatever it took to get the job done.
Those who worked with Davis came up with a nickname that stuck, “Intense Bob.” This was the result of his intense persistence and dedication to the job at hand.
Davis was also intent on seeing people “do time” for crimes they committed. He was known to call the district attorney and talk with her about a case he was involved in. He would inquire how the D.A.’s office was going to proceed with a particular case. If they needed more information, he would be diligent in gathering whatever information they required to bring the case to a “proper” conclusion.
On the other hand, Davis hated overtime. He would give his all while on duty, but he liked his time away from the “office” with his family. He loved fishing and was an avid scuba diver, always ready for a trip to the ocean with anybody who would go with him.
Davis leaves his wife of 12 years, Phyllis; his four children, Trisha, Eric, Cameron and Matthew; and a granddaughter, Tiffany.
Contributions can be sent to the Davis Memorial Trust, Mendocino County Savings Bank, 200 North School Street, Ukiah, CA 95482.
Eugene “Bear” Lincoln walked out of the Mendocino County Courthouse free of criminal charges stemming from the 1995 slaying of Davis. The State Attorney General’s Office announced that a three-month review of evidence led to the conclusion that manslaughter charges could not be proven.