Senior staff writer
Southside native Timothy Davis has wanted to be a police officer since he graduated from Southport High School in 1986.
“I love helping people and kids and making a difference,” Davis, 51, said. “I wish I would have followed my dream earlier in life.”
After a circuitous route, Davis became a deputy in the Marion County Sheriff’s Department 10 years ago. After serving two years in the Marine Corps, he worked for Midwest Tank & Manufacturing and City of Indianapolis Code Enforcement but still held onto his dream.
As a deputy, Davis has worked in the jail division, building security and delivered warrants. He has volunteered for Indiana Sheriff’s Association youth camps and annually at Shop with a Cop at Meijer at Southport Road. During the recent holidays, Davis had time to reminisce with his parents, Gene and Karen Davis, about an incident on the Southside.
Last year on Sept. 10, Davis and his dad drove to Watertown (Tenn.) High School, east of Nashville, for a family visit with Timothy’s daughter Kailei and son Max, a senior, who played the saxophone in a band performance that day.
They are third-generation musicians. Gene, 81, has played saxophone with a Salvation Army band and plays solo at various retirement homes. Timothy played the trumpet with the high school band. Father and son returned to the Southside after the long round trip around 1 a.m., Sept. 11.
Timothy dropped his dad off at the family’s home and continued east on Thompson Road. Little did he know that he would make a difference in a stranger’s life. Driving across the overpass at I-65, the off-duty deputy noticed a man wearing a blue jacket and blue jeans standing at the bridge.
Driving slowly and looking in the rear-view mirror, he saw the man climb onto the ledge. Davis turned around slowly, parked his car and approached the stranger. “He appeared to be in some kind of distress,” Davis recalled.
“I walked toward him very calmly.” He firmly believed that the stranger was contemplating suicide. Recalling his training, Davis knew to try to connect with the man, listen to him, express concern and then seek help. However, there wasn’t much time.
“I approached him calmly and tried to reassure him. I said, ‘It’s okay, please come here so we can talk.’ The despondent stranger stepped down without saying a word and then started walking east on Thompson Road.”
Davis then called 911, followed the stranger for a few minutes before emergency vehicles arrived around 2 a.m., near the end of his 20-hour day. The stranger was transported by emergency personnel to a nearby hospital for further assistance.
The official police report commended Davis for his actions, stating, “Due to Deputy Timothy Davis’ compassion, selfless service and exceptional professionalism, while disregarding his own fatigue. Deputy Davis saw a stranger in need and seized the initiative to prevent an apparent suicide attempt.”
Davis reiterated that helping people, even preventing a suicide, fulfills his duties as a Marion County Deputy Sheriff.