Lives given to protect community, East Texans remember

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Smith County peace officers who have given their lives in the line of duty were honored and remembered Monday in Tyler. This week, ceremonies are planned across the nation to remember these heroes.

One by one their names were read - their sacrifices remembered.

"That's why we go back so far even to the 1800s because it's important that those who gave their lives to protect the community are not forgotten," said Detective Andy Erbaugh, with the Tyler Police Department.

Sue Carty's son, Trooper Jimmy Ray Carty, Jr., was tragically killed in a training exercise five years ago.

"He had three beautiful children who loved him dearly," said Carty. "We just miss him tremendously each year that goes by."

But, each year she musters the strength to come to this memorial.

"I still run into people that say, 'I met Jimmy. I know him,' and a lot of it is the memorial services that keep him alive," said Carty.

They are solemn reminders of how dangerous their jobs are.

"They don't know when they approach an automobile or going to a home to help somebody if they're facing a preacher or they're facing an ex-con that's ready to kill them," said Smith County Sheriff, J.B. Smith.

"Statistics say that one of us could be a fallen officer in the next five to 10 years," said Robert Trombley, who is part of a new group of cadets graduating in a week with the Jacksonville Police Department.

"I enjoyed serving my country as a marine and now I'm looking forward to the opportunity to serve the people of these communities," said Trombley.

"It's a love for the job that keeps you going," said Erbaugh.

Thirteen names are forever engraved on the Smith County Memorial Wall. In the past year, 10 peace officers were killed in Texas. They were also honored there Monday. Heroes lost but new ones ready to protect and serve.

"We look forward to taking up and filling in those shoes for those that have been there," said Trombley.

They are gone but never forgotten.

Tyler police say the number of fallen officers is declining. Three years ago, for instance, they read 19 names, last year 14 names, and this year, just 10 names of officers killed throughout Texas this past year.

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