Decal becomes badge of honor for slain Evans Mills trooper

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WATERTOWN — Businessman Jeffery P. Shannon thought he was just offering a small gesture to help the family of a local state trooper killed in the line of duty on Sunday night.

But Mr. Shannon and his employees at KDM Kustoms on West Main Street ended up working seemingly nonstop this week producing more than 22,000 replicas of fallen trooper Joel R. Davis’ badge to raise money for the officer’s family.

Since Monday, he’s been contacted by police officers and others from as far away as California and Florida about getting the decals, prominently showing Trooper Davis’ “3814” state police badge number.

“I lost my father so I know what it’s like, so I just wanted to do what I could to help,” he said, stressing 100 percent of proceeds will go toward the slain officer’s family.

On Monday, Mr. Shannon put a message on his business’ Facebook page about the decals. Within hours, he received hundreds of requests. That quickly became thousands as the post went viral.

All week, he donated his time and money and his employees’ time to make the decals. By Tuesday, the shop was swamped with people lining up to get the badges.

Noting it’s a community where everybody knows everybody, Mr. Shannon is an acquaintance of trooper Davis’ brother, Joshua, a Watertown police officer, and was well aware of the late trooper’s good work for the community.

“He was just a great guy involved in the community,” he said.

Trooper Davis, 36, of Evans Mills, was a commissioner of the Evans Mills youth baseball league, coached baseball for years in the community and was known for helping troubled youths.

Mr. Shannon worked with state police officials in Albany and spokesman Jack Keller to get the finer details of what Trooper Davis’ badge looks like.

Zachary Laclair, his graphic artist designer, designed the badge. He was surprised by the overwhelming reaction from across the country, but knew the community would come through to help.

“It shows how close-knit of a community we are,” he said.

During the busy week, Dylan Bice, whose father, Michael, is a sergeant in the Lowville state police barracks, came to the West Main Street shop to volunteer his services. His father knew Trooper Davis and worked with him.

“Jeff shut down the office for the week for this,” he said, “And it turned out pretty big.”

Just a few hours before calling hours for the trooper were to begin, a handful of people waited in line on Friday morning at KDM Kustoms to pick up the replica badges.

Retired Trooper Darlene M. Snyder stopped in to pick up 25 of the vehicle decals for troopers in the Pulaski barracks where she worked until 2009.

She’s from the area and attended the calling hours at Fort Drum, where hundreds of mourners said their goodbyes to the slain trooper. She wanted to show support for the men and women in state police gray and for the trooper’s family.

“They say what a great man he was,” she said.

Watertown resident Bob Patchen was asked by members of the Teamsters union in Syracuse to get about 30 badges.

“You’ve been busy,” he told Mr. Bice while waiting to get his order in.

For those interested in the badges, Mr. Shannon suggested people who live in the area stop at his business to pick them up. People making contributions to the family are sending their requests with their return address to get the badges.

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