Austin, TX (FOX51) — The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) today honored 10 Texas law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty during the last year. The lives of these officers, including DPS Sgt. Paul Hernandez, who died while on duty October 4, 2012, were recognized at the DPS Peace Officer Memorial Service in Austin. Texas Sen. John Whitmire, the keynote speaker, and various other law enforcement officials and family members of fallen officers attended the service.
“Today’s ceremony underscores the reality that law enforcement is a dangerous line of work – full of great responsibilities and risks,” said Sen. Whitmire. “We are grateful to the men and women who take the oath to protect and serve our communities at all costs. We have a duty as citizens to honor these courageous officers, and we are forever grateful to those heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe.”
Ralph Boyd, father of Trooper Russell Boyd, who was shot and killed in 1983 in Waller County, placed a wreath at the DPS Memorial Wall during the ceremony.
“It takes a special kind of person to take an oath to protect and serve their community, and to constantly place the safety of others above their own,” said Texas Public Safety Commission Chair Cynthia Leon. “The fallen heroes, families and loved ones we honor today have given so much, and we can never thank them enough for their bravery and selflessness.”
The DPS Peace Officer Memorial Service is one of many ceremonies scheduled across the nation to honor fallen law enforcement officers during National Police Week.
“We gather here today to honor our own fallen officers as well as our law enforcement partners who have died in the line of duty. There is no greater devotion to duty than to serve and protect others at any and all costs, and when any Texas peace officer dies in the line of duty, we all feel a great loss,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “We also recognize the tremendous sacrifice of the families of our fallen officers, and pledge that the bravery, dedication and sacrifice of those officers will never be forgotten.”
Last year’s service honored Texas officers who died in the line of duty from May 14, 2011, to May 14, 2012. The following Texas officers, who have died since then, were honored at today’s memorial service:
Officers killed feloniously in 2012:
- Officer Joshua Williams, Waxahachie Police Department, was killed when his patrol car was struck by a drunk driver on July 28, 2012.
Deputy Sheriff Joshua Mitchell, Reagan County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed by a suicidal suspect on August 1, 2012.
Constable Brian Bachman, Brazos County Constable’s Office, was shot and killed while serving an eviction notice on August 13, 2012.
- Patrolman Jonathan Molina, El Paso Police Department, died on October 5, 2012, after an assault on September 25, 2012.
Corporal Jimmie Norman, Bellaire Police Department, was shot and killed during a traffic stop on December 24, 2012.
Officers who died while performing their duties in 2012:
Deputy Sheriff Michael Smith, Upton County Sheriff’s Office, died in a traffic accident while responding to a fire on June 8, 2012.
Sergeant Paul Hernandez, Texas Department of Public Safety, suffered a fatal heart attack while on duty in San Antonio on October 4, 2012.
Patrolman Angel Garcia, El Paso Police Department, died after being struck by an automobile while clearing a road hazard on December 16, 2012.
- Officer Edrees Mukhtar, San Antonio Police Department, died on December 29, 2012, after suffering injuries from a traffic accident while responding to a call on December 10, 2012.
Officer killed feloniously in 2013:
Deputy Sheriff Chad Key, Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, was struck and killed by a drunk driver while directing traffic on April 20, 2013.