Vidalia native proud of job as trooper

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

VIDALIA &8212; After 12 years as a Louisiana state trooper Mark Davis has seen some strange things.

The one that jumps to mind, Davis said, happened at 1 or 2 a.m.

He was patrolling in the middle of nowhere and stopped a white, unmarked van.

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&8220;I asked the guy for his paperwork, and he said it was in a briefcase in the back,&8221; Davis said. &8220;So, he goes around and opens the back and there&8217;s a corpse with a toe tag lying there.&8221;

Neither the van nor the driver said the man worked for a funeral home.

&8220;At 1 in the morning, that kind of gives you a start,&8221; Davis said. &8220;When you&8217;re out at all hours, it gets pretty weird.&8221;

When he&8217;s not patrolling, Davis hangs out at his home on 2025 Eleanor Ave. He has lived in Vidalia for most of his life, he said.

He graduated from Vidalia High School, and after four years in the Marine Corps and a couple at the Catahoula Parish Sheriff&8217;s Office, he went to work for the Louisiana State Police.

&8220;It can be hard to police where you grew up,&8221; he said. &8220;You come in contact with people you&8217;ve known for a long time.&8221;

Davis said working holidays and odd hours can be difficult on family members, but his have gotten used to it, more or less.

His 11-year-old son, Jake, even thinks it&8217;s cool.

&8220;He seems pretty interested,&8221; Davis said. &8220;I&8217;d never try to talk him out of it. I&8217;d just say, &8216;If you choose this as a career, this is what comes with it: long hours and it&8217;s hard on your family.&8217;

&8220;I love my job, but it&8217;s only natural for people to want to see their kids to better than them.&8221;

One of Davis&8217; most memorable experiences lasted weeks.

He was in Baton Rouge when Hurricane Katrina hit and was called to help beef up security in New Orleans in the aftermath.

For a while, he had a pattern. He would be home for a month and would go back to New Orleans for two weeks.

Now he&8217;s back home on patrol and things are back to normal.

He said even though people never enjoy tickets, he feels his job makes a difference.

&8220;When they&8217;re going through something traumatic in their life, like a wreck, and they need you, they look at it in a different light.&8221;