The twelfth biennial Texas Peace Officers’ Memorial Service was held on the steps of the state capitol Monday to honor the thirty-six men and women who were killed in the line of duty from 2006 to 2008.
Law enforcement from around the state stood in assembled formations lining the south entrance, taking turns relieving one another for a few moments in the shade. The name of each fallen officer was read aloud and followed by silence. Families and departments stood together to honor and remember the fallen.
“It’s humbling to be here,” said Tyson Kropp of the Abilene police department. “As a department it’s important to us because we lost Officer Jeff McCoy on June 5th, 2007, so it’s good to come honor him.”
“My father was killed in the line of duty in 1985, and I came here to remember him and fellow officers who have fallen as well,” said Julie Steenbergen of the Gunter Police Department. “It definitely touches you.”
Not everyone in attendance was there to honor someone they had lost—many were there to show support for their fellow officers. Terry Aikman, a certified EMS and law enforcement officer, started in the fire service thirty-three years ago, and has been an active police officer for the past five-and-a-half years in Schertz, Texas.
“I’m here to honor [and remember] the people that serve,” Aikman said. “We don’t do this for a paycheck; we do it for a reason. Everybody always says it’s to protect and serve, but I think it’s to keep this place safe.”
The memorial ended with a gun salute and the harmonizing of bagpipes, as the memorial wreath was taken down from the podium and the officers marched away from the capitol.
“Every time that we have to do this, we hope we never have to do it again,” said Michael Crumrine of the Austin Police Pipe and Drum Corps. “But it’s a way that we can keep their memories going and remember them for the ultimate sacrifice that they’ve given to our state and our community.”