2018-05-16 / Front Page

Fallen officers honored by Willacy law enforcement community

BY ALLEN ESSEX
Reporter


WILLACY COUNTY JUDGE AURELIO “KETER” GUERRA speaks to a solemn crowd honoring fallen police officers across the nation at Monday’s National Police Week ceremony at the courthouse. From left, Sheriff Larry Spence, Constable Joe Salazar, Lyford Police Chief Andy Maldonado, Sheriff’s Major Ernie Garcia, Raymondville Police Detective Denise Ledesma and Constable Felix Tamez. (Photo by Allen Essex) WILLACY COUNTY JUDGE AURELIO “KETER” GUERRA speaks to a solemn crowd honoring fallen police officers across the nation at Monday’s National Police Week ceremony at the courthouse. From left, Sheriff Larry Spence, Constable Joe Salazar, Lyford Police Chief Andy Maldonado, Sheriff’s Major Ernie Garcia, Raymondville Police Detective Denise Ledesma and Constable Felix Tamez. (Photo by Allen Essex) Police officers from federal, state and local paid agencies, gathered on the lawn of the Willacy County courthouse Monday for the annual National Police Week ceremony.

Officers paid tribute to those who sacrificed their lives during their tour of duty.

Officers from Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife, constables, Raymondville Police Department and Willacy County Sheriff’s Office gathered for the brief ceremony that honored their fellow officers.

Denise Zamora welcomed everyone and kept the observance flowing smoothly. She later read a poem about a young woman whose officer father was killed in the line of duty.

An invocation was given by Pastor Hojamen Soto and the National Anthem was sung by Amanda Salinas.

A list of officers killed in the State of Texas in 2017-2018 was read by District Attorney Annette Hinojosa.

The memorial wreath was placed in honor of the fallen officers and a 23-gun salute was given followed by TAPS performed by DPS Trooper Prado.

Benediction was delivered by Pastor Soto and everyone was dismissed, Sheriff Spence said.

A dinner to honor the officers for their service to the community was held at the L.E. Franks Tourist Center, made possible by several sponsors.

Sheriff Spence and Raymondville Police Chief Uvaldo Zamora thanked the sponsors for providing the dinner to honor the police officers and the public for attending the ceremony.

District Attorney Annette Hinojosa and Detective Denise Ledesma gathered donations from the community and organized the whole event, Zamora said.

Noting that President John F. Kennedy signed the bill creating National Police Week to honor fallen officers, Zamora said, “We don’t expect that to happen to you but it happens every day,” he said of officers dying in the line of duty. “We started doing this way back to honor all the fallen officing ers.”

Guest speaker was Lt. Chuck Freeman of the Corpus Christi Police Department who gave a talk on his experiences as an officer and senior chaplain for his department, Sheriff Spence said.

In October 1962, Congress passed and President Kennedy signed a joint resolution declaring May 15th as National Peace Officers Memorial Day to honor law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty. The resolution also created National Police Week as an annual tribute to law enforcement service and sacrifice.

“Ninety-three police officers and agents died in the line of duty last year,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick said in a news release.

“We mourn those taken from us,” Patrick said. “As a U.S. Attorney’s Office, we sometimes have the duty to bring justice for the families of these fallen heroes and we rededicate ourselves to carrying forward their legacy.”

Texas officers honored were: Clint Greenwood, Harris County Constable Pct. 3; Steve Albert Perez, Houston Police Department; and Elias Martinez, Jr., METRO Police Department, Houston.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2018-05-16 digital edition