Police chief, ex-con tattoo artist become unlikely friends

St. Charles Police Chief Ray Juengst and David “Huge Dave” Canoy formed a friendship next Canoy’s prison stint.

LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. — When St. Charles Law enforcement Chief Ray Juengst was just a freshly-minted, fresh-faced detective in the narcotics unit, having down fellas like David “Big Dave” Canoy could truly assistance him make a name for himself.

Canoy was a person of the players for the duration of the top of the home made meth lab recreation in Lincoln County.

“The folks he was dealing with, I was chasing just after,” Juengst explained.

Now, about 20 several years and a jail stint later on, Canoy and Juengst have fashioned 1 of the most unorthodox friendships.

Canoy is at a spot in his lifestyle he hardly ever assumed feasible — owning his have organization, a tattoo store. He has stars intrigued in his get the job done, cops he when ran from like Juengst as his consumers and is acknowledged for supplying back again to the group.

“Traditionally, men and women that go by means of that don’t want to essentially offer with cops at any time all over again, and below we are,” Juengst claimed, as he sat in Canoy’s chair 1 current afternoon finding far more depth included to a full sleeve tattoo Canoy tattooed on his proper arm. “He’s probably the finest human currently being that I know. Fingers down.”

It is a romance that fulfills both of those guys in unique means.

For Canoy, preserving associations with people on the right side of the regulation helps preserve him grounded.

“Back then, the law enforcement had been the enemy, and they were being just not the persons that I have surrounded myself with at all,” Canoy explained. “So nowadays, I have quite a few legislation enforcement mates that are truly close good friends that I know that I can rely on.”

For Juengst, Canoy reminds him about why he received into legislation enforcement.

“Bad fellas get locked up and most of them you should not acquire the possibilities they have to modify like he did,” Junegst explained. “So I would do just about anything for him now.

“He is the purpose why it truly is meant to perform the way it does. He’s an case in point of it.”

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The incorrect direction 

Canoy grew up as one particular of 7 kids.

His father worked for a copy machine business, so there had been reams of paper his father applied to exam devices close to his dwelling all the time. Canoy stated he put in hours as a boy or girl drawing on the typically-blank sheets of paper.

He expended the early part of his childhood in St. Louis, but his loved ones shortly moved to rural Lincoln County.

He started hanging out in tattoo retailers at 15.

“I just required to dangle close to artists, but I by no means did want to tattoo for the reason that I was worried of performing with the general public,” he stated. “And with blood, there’s no erasers.”

The shift to the more rural community from the metropolis wasn’t an straightforward adjustment for Canoy.

“Those are two completely distinctive environments,” Canoy recalled. “And I did not seem to suit in either just one of all those locations.”

So, he commenced to grow to be the people he was close to.

“You have to become a chameleon,” he mentioned. “I created this man or woman that I failed to even know who I truly was.”

At 17, he stated his mothers and fathers kicked him out.

He bought arrested and convicted of felony stealing immediately after he claimed a group of his good friends stole a car stereo. He was specified probation for the felony conviction.

“I found myself just possessing to get treatment of myself in whichever way I realized how,” he mentioned. “I was thieving and doing the job and just residing, and drugs and alcoholic beverages grew to become a big aspect of my existence and a big element of my every day coping techniques, and ultimately obtained me to producing meth.”

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‘I desired to begin over’

It wasn’t lengthy just before the narcotics device Juengst worked for commenced choosing off members of Canoy’s circle.

“Everybody all over me ended up finding arrested and I fled the condition and stayed on the operate for about a year,” he explained. “And I eventually turned myself in just mainly because I preferred to.

“I required to start off in excess of. I did not want to run any longer.”

He was billed with product sales to an undercover officer and possession of methamphetamine. Finally, he pleaded responsible to possession of cannabis.

“My law firm instructed me it looked superior to be a drug consumer and not a drug dealer,” he recalled.

https://www.youtube.com/observe?v=6eyjfBwzg2g

The arrest revoked his parole from the thieving charge he caught as a teen, so he went to the county jail for about 9 months and on to prison in Fulton. There, he was provided a 128-day drug procedure program.

“If I would have went to jail for what I basically did, I would nonetheless be in prison now,” he stated. “I’m quite blessed.”

The practical experience altered him.

He explained he discovered himself among amazing, but squandered, potential.

“I seriously believe that that most of our leaders are incarcerated,” he stated. “Criminals have these types of leadership techniques, just pointed in the erroneous way.

“They’re the ones who are keen to danger. They’re willing to go all in. If they have an concept, they are going to gamble anything. They will run, they will chase, they will combat, they will give up everything and sacrifice all the things for some thing. They are just functioning from a concept that won’t perform. When any individual gave me a theory that worked, I just received my system corrected. I am however that identical man or woman, just in a way that is effective and fits into society and serves me and the men and women in my lifestyle.”

It was also a sobering knowledge for him — 1 that nonetheless resonates currently.

“Being in a position to open up fridge and finding anything chilly to drink, also staying able to shower by oneself, those people matters now I am grateful for nonetheless years and many years later, and it was since they have been taken from me,” he mentioned.

Canoy is also open about this previous.

“It’s just way a lot easier,” he reported. “I never have to hold observe of all the lies. I get to be genuine, and that’s priceless.”

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A new chapter

Not very long after his release, he went as a result of a divorce and reported he shed a professional cleaning company he experienced released in the method.

He determined he wished to do one thing with artwork, and tattooing was about the only artistic industry in which Canoy reported he thought he could make a living.

In 2006, he opened his very own store.

“I didn’t want to be in the tattoo field, which is regarded for medications and partying,” he reported. “I experienced many offers to work at shops, but I realized I wished to open up my very own shop exactly where I could control the setting.

“There are a number of folks who are in restoration in our shop and the atmosphere is a whole lot diverse. You can wander in, the individuals are welcoming, there is not vulgarity and nakedness on the walls. Not that it’s not a tattoo shop, it is just pretty welcoming for any individual.”

Photos of the time he’s put in operating on celebs together with comic David Chappelle’s crew and the band Glow Down greet shoppers at the front doorway.

He and three of his mates also manufactured a collection on YouTube dubbed Tattoos and Turnpikes in 2020 in which they used 21 times on the highway to find out what everyday living is like in tattoo parlors and motorbike retailers throughout the United States. Previous calendar year, the collection received an award in the On the web Sequence – Training & Discovery classification throughout the 42nd yearly Telly Awards.

“I seriously never observed this daily life as even a chance, “ he mentioned. “So, I have a authentic tough time describing my lifetime to people today, and occasionally I truly feel actually guilty sharing with people that do not share the very same practical experience in existence that I have.”

In the fall, Canoy sponsors and options a cost-free local community festival known as the Ink Location Block Social gathering with reside music, children’s functions, confront portray and food stuff. 

It normally normally takes area in Lincoln County, but the areas vary. This 12 months will be the 11th once-a-year party – though it was canceled in 2020 owing to COVID. The major competition had 21 bands.

“It’s a way for us to give again to the group,” Canoy reported.

It’s an occasion which is usually on Juengst’s calendar. It truly is exactly where he and Canoy reconnected about six many years in the past.

Canoy has been tattooing on Juengst’s arms ever considering that. They’re just about fully lined in Canoy’s ink. All Juengst gave Canoy ended up concepts. 

“I sat down with him and gave him an idea of what I preferred and he just went to city,” Juengst claimed.

To stand for the adversity Juengst claimed he has faced in life, Canoy designed a koi fish that looks as if it is swimming up Juenst’s arm in a yellow river. 

“The tale behind it is koi fishes swam up the Yellow River and spent a thousand many years hoping to get by the Dragons Gate,” Juengst reported. “Most of them gave up and turned and went again downstream. 

“Just one koi fish, however, created it via the Dragon Gate, and soon after he made it through the dragon’s gate, the gods rewarded him and built him a koi dragon. And he invested all of eternity picking up pearls of wisdom. So for me, the koi fish represents a good deal of factors that I have been through in my existence.”

Canoy also dotted the koi fish style and design with cherry blossoms, which depict the chief’s kids. A Lotus flower signifies his wife, who gave him all of his youngsters.

On his other arm, Canoy tattooed a substantial portrait of St. Michael earlier mentioned Lucifer.

“St. Michael is the patron saint of legislation enforcement, and this is the scene the place he casts Lucifer out of heaven,” Juengst said. 

The phrases, “Liked by several, judged by several,” line the internal part of his right bicep.

“Which is particular for the reason that of what I do for a residing,” Juengst reported. “Most men and women decide us by what we do for a residing as opposed to definitely acquiring to know us.”

Canoy is aware of the feeling. 

That’s why Juengst is most comfortable in his chair.

“When people get in difficulty and they notice it and they acquire that chance to improve their lifetime and essentially truly transform their lifetime, how can you not want to be all around that?” Juengst claimed. “How can you not want to be part of that or support them in any way?

“That’s what we received into this career for.”

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Kenneth Proto

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