ALPINE James Davis has ended his 41-year law enforcement career on his March 31 retirement from Sul Ross State University.
Davis, a police officer for the University Department of Public Safety, spent a total of seven years at Sul Ross, but also has extensive duty with city and county law enforcement agencies in Alpine, Brewster County, Presidio County, the Texas Panhandle and New Mexico.
“Working for the university is a different type of police work,” he said. “At Sul Ross, I have been more of a peace officer than a law enforcement officer. I interact with students here to help them succeed. I am here to keep the peace and provide some guidance.”
“With a county or city agency, you don’t have that obligation; your job is more focused on protecting the community,” he said.
Davis has enjoyed his Sul Ross experience. “I have made some good friends and working at a university gives you a chance to advance your education. Even if you don’t have time to attend classes, you can learn a great deal from exposure to an educational environment.”
Davis, a native of Hahira, GA, moved with his family to New Mexico at a young age when his father went to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department in Roswell. Later, when his father worked as a game warden in New Mexico, Davis became acquainted with the Hollywood movie scene.
“They filmed a lot of westerns there, and as a kid, I met a lot of stars,” he said. While working as an apprentice chef in Brazos Lodge, he cooked a trout dinner and was later called out to the dining room.
“I thought, ‘Oh, oh, I did something wrong,’” Davis recalled, but to the contrary, the diner — comedian/actor Bob Hope — wanted to compliment him on the quality of the meal. He has stayed in touch with the Hollywood scene, working security at a number of movie sets, as well as playing some small bit roles.
Davis began his law enforcement career in 1977, and over the years, has worked as a city marshal, chief of police, police officer, sheriff’s deputy and university officer.
“There have been great changes in technology during my career,” he said, citing the present speed of obtaining information compared to more tedious processes when he began.
“It was a great time to start in it (law enforcement) and now is a great time to end it.”
Upon retirement, he and his wife, Malinda, will move to Jessup, Ga., where his mother and aunt live, with other family members in the area. His daughter, Monica Garcia; stepdaughter Elizabeth Constancio; two granddaughters and a grandson live in Friona, Texas.
“My father left me his gunsmith shop on the back of Mom’s property, and I plan to re-open,” Davis said. “My boat is also in the backyard and there is good fishing in the river a mile and a half away.”
In addition, he plans to pursue other interests including target shooting, leather crafting and refurbishing a motorhome to take his mother and aunt on trips. He noted that their travel has been limited due to health problems, but riding in a motorhome will enable them to fulfill an ever-growing list of sites.
“Malinda has been down in Georgia for several months caring for my mother and aunt, and that has re-invigorated their lives,” he said. “I could not be more grateful to any one person for caring for two of the most important people in my life.”