Davis, 38, was hospitalized for a few days and returned to work in November. But he can’t run or lift his arm above his shoulder, and he can’t hold a gun yet, so he is aiding investigations for now. He has another operation scheduled next week following two other surgeries, including a bone graft for his leg.
He said he stays positive and hasn’t given up, but he does understand when others have problems coping with traumatic incidents.
“I’ve seen different scenarios where officers have gone through this and some who have actually committed suicide,” he said. And while he said he’s never considered killing himself, “I could definitely see where that could happen.”
In his more than 20 years with the department, former Dallas narcotics Detective David Rodriguez, 65, had always stressed safety. And he was in top physical condition - he ran at least six miles every day.
But he never saw the man who shot him in January 1994 as he served a narcotics warrant. The bullet permanently paralyzed him.
He was hospitalized and went through months of treatment and rehab. Going back to work at a desk job was a relief, he said.
“I had never ever ever spent that much time as a patient in a hospital,” Rodriguez said. “And I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.”
He said it took him a few years to accept that he would never walk again. Then, staying at the Police Department became unbearable.
“One day when I was sitting there at the desk, I was watching the narcotics squad team work,” he said. “It hit me that I’m never going to do that again or anything like that at all. It was just too much.”
He retired in 1996 but remains active with law enforcement. He teaches a course at the police academy about dealing with victims of crime. He worked for a while with the Dallas Police Association. He co-founded the Assist the Officer Foundation, which accepts donations in his name at atodallas.org.
And in 2008, he got back into the catching-criminals game briefly by using his specially outfitted pickup to follow a man who robbed a fast food restaurant until police arrived to arrest him.
Afterward, though, it hit him that he could have been the one making the arrest, and it reminded him again of his limitations.
“One of the toughest things for any officer who gets injured is to psychologically relive the incident and not have it totally control you,” he said. “You need something to focus in on to not remind you of any of that.”