Law enforcement, community gather to honor fallen officers
On a dreary Tuesday morning, law enforcement personnel and residents from throughout Bell County converged on the Temple Police Department to honor Texas officers who have lost their lives in the past two years.
“It’s altogether fitting that we come here today together to honor those law enforcement officers who paid the ultimate price,” Police Chief Shawn Reynold said during the event. “For those officers, their families and their agencies, we owe a debt that we can never pay.”
Bell County Sheriff Eddy Lange read the names of the 134 Texas law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty and due to COVID-19 in 2019-20. The list included Bell County Deputy John Rhoden, who lost his life during a pursuit in April 2020. Officers representing the various county agencies laid a rose on the sign outside the Temple Police Department as each name was called.
Mayor Tim Davis read a proclamation marking the occasion, and thanked officers in attendance for their service.
“I want to thank all of the police officers who are willing to put their lives on the line every day to protect regular citizens like me and my family,” Davis said. “Thank you for your willingness to carry out your job every day.”
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy declared May 15 as National Peace Officer Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. National police week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty for the protection of others.
The Bell County Peace Officer Memorial is traditionally held on the Tuesday of National Police Week and hosted by one of the county’s several law enforcement agencies. The event was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 virus.
“We took time today to remember and read the name of every single officer who died in 2019 and 2020, so it was a powerful moment,” Reynolds said. “They were important, not because of their job, but because of the impact they had.”