Life and work of Lakewood officer James Davies honored at funeral

CHERRY HILLS, Colo. — Thousands of mourners gathered Thursday to remember Lakewood police officer James Davies who was killed last week by a fellow officer.

Friends and colleagues of Davies remembered him as a tireless worker and a jokester from the United Kingdom who spoke with an accent and teased about buying a motel on Colfax in order to “make money off a guy and then have a pretty good chance of arresting him that night.”

British family and friends, including several UK police officers, traveled to Denver to pay their respects. Davies moved to the U.S. in 2000 and was working toward gaining citizenship.

Agent Timothy Jackson told the audience he met Davies at the police academy and shared a story about how Davies would collect 50 cent pieces and would occasionally pay a colleague back for lunch in rolls of 50 cent pieces.

“I loved him. I’m going to miss him,” Jackson said.

Davies, 35, worked in the special enforcement unit of the Lakewood Police Department. He was working an overtime shift the night he was killed.

He was among a number of officers that responded to shots fired at a home on Eaton Street in Englewood. He had taken a position in the backyard of the home, as officers searched for a gunman, when he was mistaken for an assailant and shot through a fence by Officer Devaney Braley.

Davies, a 6 ½ year veteran of the force, is the first Lakewood officer that has been killed in the line of duty in the department’s history.

Police officers from departments around the state traveled to the funeral at the Denver First Church of the Nazarene. Denver’s police chief Robert White was among them saying “when one member of law enforcement suffers, we all suffer.”

Lakewood Mayor Bob Murphy said called Davies a “hero.”

“We know we have lost one of our best, and together we grieve,” Murphy said.

Davies leaves behind a wife, Tammy, and two children, Chloe, 6, and Ethan, 2.

Lakewood Police Chief Kevin Paletta told Davies’ wife “you have been thrown into a nightmare of unimaginable proportion.”

“We are here today and forever will be there for you,” Paletta said.

“James was one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met in my life,” said Agent Justin Mains.

Davies specialized in tracking sex offenders who had failed to register. Davies called criminals “dirties” and referred to himself as a “dirty hunter.”

For his work in creating a sex offender unit, Paletta posthumously awarded Davies a Police Service Award. That award along with the Police Cross – given to the family of an officer killed while on duty – were presented to Davies’ wife Tammy during the memorial.

“For a man who walked and spoke softly; James Davies left an indelible impact on everyone,” Paletta said.

After the funeral, a procession traveled from the church to the Jefferson County fairgrounds for a private memorial.

Fatal officer-on-officer shootings are rare in Colorado. The last officer killed by friendly fire was in 1984 when Northglenn Cpl. Edgar Blaine Rains Jr. was killed while responding to a domestic dispute.

Donations are being accepted by the Davies family at the Foothills Credit Union at 7990 W. Alameda Ave. in Lakewood.