Local hero turns chance encounter into job as police officer

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In a lot of ways, Officer John Davis is your average police officer, but it was just a couple of years ago that Davis was simply your average guy.

Davis spoke to Fox59 back in December 2011, after stopping a gas station robbery in Elwood.

“I’m an average guy. I’m (just) a dad,” Davis said at the time.

Davis had walked into the gas station as the robbery was taking place. He saw three guys with their arms full of stuff and the attendant yelling that they were being robbed.

“I had a gun on me. I pulled my gun, two of them got on the ground, one of them charged me,” Davis said.

Instead of shooting, Davis kept his cool and tackled the guy to the ground. He was able to keep all three suspects there until police arrived to make arrests.

It was that encounter that led to a meeting with Elwood Police Chief Sam Hanna.

“I wanted to do something for him, give him a plaque or certificate, (and) recognize his bravery,” Hanna said.

“Frankly I was a little worried, I wasn’t sure what the chief wanted,” Davis said.

After that meeting, Hanna realized that Davis had what it took to be a good police officer. In addition to his calm, collected handling of the gas station robbery, Davis is fluent in Spanish.

Davis soon began working as a reserve officer, training to become part of the department. This April, he was sworn in full-time and is now the only Spanish-speaking officer in Elwood. He also serves as an interpreter for the entire county, something that is often needed in situations that go beyond law enforcement.

“I interpret almost every day for our city,” Davis said.

Davis offers classes to other law enforcement departments on basic Spanish skills. He’s made it his passion to promote bilingual officers who can help communicate with a large segment of the area’s population.

It all happened because of a chance encounter. Davis is now doing day-to-day work he never dreamed of, but turned out to be cut out for all along.

“Every day when I got home and walk into the house, I take a last quick glance at my police car in my driveway and I’m still excited,” Davis said.

“I think things happen for the right reason and because this happened, I think Elwood’s a better community. We’re a better police department,” Hanna said.

If you’re interested in those Spanish classes offered to law enforcement, contact the Elwood Police Department.