Davis led ‘03 shuttle recovery efforts

Bridge City native Maj. Paul Davis lives in an Austin apartment, but that will change Feb. 1 when he returns to be the chief of police. 

Like most Bridge City houses, his was damaged by Hurricane Ike, but at least he’ll be back to spend more than just weekends with his family.

The city recently named Davis after whittling down a short list from more than 40 applicants. 

Former chief Steve Faircloth retired in 2008, before interim chief Maj. Joey Hargrave was appointed.

“I’ve always been interested in law enforcement, serving the public and making a difference” said Davis, son of Billy and Diane Allen.

“Those of us in the profession want to have a positive impact.”

Davis, 46, has spent most of his 24-year-career in east Texas, including turns as a state trooper in Orange and work with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. At times, he worked out of Beaumont or in Jefferson County. 

When he takes over as chief, he will leave the Texas Highway Patrol’s Austin division and won’t miss the four-and-half hour drive from Southeast Texas. He lives in the Austin apartment on weekdays.

“It’s exciting to return to Bridge City,” he says. “I’ll get to focus all my energy on our local community instead of on multiple jurisdictions,” he said.

A graduate of Lamar University (as a criminal justice major) and Bridge City High School, Davis has received numerous commendations and certifications. 

He is a graduate of the Southern Police Institute in Louisville, Ky., and was appointed lead coordinator for east Texas efforts after the Columbia shuttle tragedy in 2003.

The operation went through April of that year, he said. Initial recovery of the astronauts’ remains took about 14 days. Davis later received top commendations from NASA, and was also honored with the Highway Patrol’s Division Chief’s Award.

The home Davis shares with his wife Kim, an employee at Bridge City Bank, took some flood damage, he said, but “we’re making progress.” He doesn’t think they will need a trailer. 

The couple have two children, Madison, 19; a student at Lamar; and Mason, 14, who attends Bridge City Middle School. Davis said that “as an outsider” he has no present changes for the department.

“My plan is to do a major analysis of what’s going on and take it from there,” he said.