BY JESSALYN KIRCHHOFF
Ward Davis is coming back to Hays and the community and HPD can’t wait.
Davis put Hays, America and the Hays Police Department on the map when he started a Facebook frenzy over their friendly feud back in 2017 after “the incident”.
Don Scheibler, HPD chief of police, described said incident.
“Several years ago, Mr. Davis was performing in downtown Hays at The Fox,” Scheibler said. “After his performance, he was relaxing outside the theatre indulging in a bit of the ‘Devil’s Lettuce’. A member of the Hays finest interrupted this crime in process and Mr. Davis got the opportunity of a lifetime to ride in a Hays Police Department patrol car.”
He went on to explain the aftermath of that night saying the incident must have had a lasting effect on Davis as he has since begun trolling the HPD Facebook page.
“Initially when Mr. Davis started trolling us, we did not know who he was, so we blocked him,” Scheibler said. “When that did not work, we did a little research and discovered that Mr. Davis is an amazingly talented singer and songwriter, with an apparent strong desire to join the Hays Police Department. We have tried our best to help him achieve his goal of becoming a police officer.”
Davis, an American singer/songwriter, gave similar testimony to his colorful history with the Hays Police Department saying he was opening for Cody Jinks at the Fox in 2017 when his first run-in with HPD occurred.
“After my set, I smoked a joint with a fan behind the building. Well, apparently the dude went bragging to his friends and a cop overheard him. My trailer had my name on it, and the band was on there enjoying the fruits of Colorado when the cop knocked on the door. My buddy Arlo opened it, holding a pipe, and that was that,” Davis said.
Davis recounts how he gave up his cannabis to the police, who searched his trailer and found some in Arlo’s bag as well, resulting in both of their arrests. Davis also praises Jinks for “cussing the cops” and bailing him out before serving a year of unsupervised probation.
“Couldn’t buy guns for a year, that’s the only way it affected me,” Davis said of the arrest. “Other than the inspiration it provided for me to revisit their Facebook page years later and take a small joke too far.”
Davis justifies his reasoning behind the playful heckling of HPD saying that police have caught a lot of flak over the years and that harassment didn’t sit well with him.
“A few bad eggs caused a lot of people to more or less turn on law enforcement, for no other reason than it was popular,” Davis said. “I’ve met a lot of a***** cops, but I’ve also met a lot of a****** bartenders, and a****** sound guys, and a****** everythings.
“Cops are just folks, and folks forget that. It’s been fun to carry on with them, let them show a sense of humor. It’s humanizing. Especially for Sergeant Magic Baby Sugar. Somebody needs to give that guy a Cadillac.”
Although HPD blocked Davis for his initial post, Scheibler said they underestimated Davis’s popularity and his following leading to comments on the HPD Facebook page voicing frustration over Davis being blocked. This lead Scheibler to plan B on how to deal with Davis’s posts.
“We got some great advice from CVB Director Melissa Dixon when she told us ‘That we would get further with honey than with vinegar,’ so instead of treating Mr. Davis as an annoying troll, we started treating him as a friend who was having some good-natured fun with us,” Scheibler said. “We are extremely glad that we unblocked Mr. Davis and that he has become part of the Hays Police Department and our community.”
Scheibler then went on to give Davis praise where praise was due, noting his wicked good sense of humor and that he is as good as it gets on Facebook.
“We also quickly discovered through our interactions with Mr. Davis and his fans that they are just really good people. Mr. Davis has become one of our top fans and he continues to support many community projects,” Scheibler said. “He supported our No-Shave November project by donating and encouraging all his fans to help us raise money for the local ‘Your Voice Through Cancer’ group.”
Scheibler also said Davis supported HPD non-profit organizations by participating in the ‘The Bricks in Downtown Hays’ Giving Tuesday fundraiser and he helped the local girl scout troops by encouraging his fans to buy cookies for the Hays PD resulting in nearly 10 cases of cookies being brought to the department.
“We have come to enjoy the friendly banter back and forth with Mr. Davis and we are grateful for the support of Mr. Davis and his fans,” Scheibler said.
Concerning Davis’ approaching arrival, Scheibler said he is excited for the opportunity it provides the Hays community.
“We are very excited about Ward Davis and his band returning to the scene of the crime,” he said. “The Fox Theatre is doing a great job bringing in high-quality performers and we love it when things are happening in our community. Both of his shows are sold out so it should be a great time in downtown Hays this weekend.”
Scheibler said he has no further concern for Davis’ arrival, but also lists the events of a jam-packed weekend for Hays.
“It will be a busy weekend for our community with the invasion of “The WARDens” (the Ward Davis Fan Club), the two sold-out concerts, FHSU graduation, and Hays High School graduation,” he said. “When the community is busy, that usually means we are busy. So, in preparation, we have scheduled some additional officers to be available to help keep people safe and to respond to the additional calls for service. We are confident that it will be a great weekend.”
Davis also communicated his enthusiasm for this weekend’s concerts but refused to give a sneak peek into his sets.
“Can’t wait,” he said. “No chance fans are getting an inside look at my performance. I will say, the house music before the show should be interesting though.”
Although it got off to a rocky start, the bond between the HPD and Davis has turned into a brotherly relationship according to Scheibler.
“Your brother can be a pain, you like picking on him, but in the end, you are glad you are friends. At a time when the world has come off the tracks with the pandemic, social unrest, and anti-police rhetoric, we have enjoyed our interaction with Mr. Davis on Facebook,” Scheibler said. “He has reminded us not to be too serious, to enjoy life, and to laugh. He has also helped to provide us with the opportunity to show that the men and women of law enforcement are people too. We are grateful for Mr. Davis and his fans, and we look forward to seeing him again in Hays, America.
“Hopefully, it won’t be in the back of a patrol car this time.”
In slightly less loving words, Davis also shares his view of their relationship.
“I’d say good, but only because I’m 1000 miles away and send them Girl Scout cookies for fun,” he said. “If I was rolling through town smoking doobies all the time, they’d probably get fed up with me.”
Davis will be playing the Fox Theatre on Friday and Saturday this week. Tickets can be purchased on The Fox’s website.