TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Multiple law enforcement agencies gathered Tuesday in Tyler to honor those who have died in the line of duty.
Civilians and family members of the fallen also attended the ceremony held on the downtown square. The service was held as part of ceremonies set to commemorate Peace Officers Memorial Day, which is Wednesday, May 15.
“We want to recognize those officers that have made the ultimate sacrifice, not only in Tyler and Smith County, but in the state of Texas,” said Tyler Police Chief Jimmy Toler. “We know that they go out every day to serve our community and we understand the risks they take. I think it’s incumbent on us to make sure that we never forget the sacrifices they made.”
Tuesday’s ceremony paid tribute to the 12 Texas peace officers and five K-9 officers who died in the line of duty last year.
Vicki Terry Lancaster, of Whitehouse, was 26 years old when her father, Smith County Deputy Sheriff Walter L. Terry, was killed in the line of duty. She said her father went into law enforcement after retiring from the military because he realized he still wanted to serve.
“It’s very emotional, but I feel like we should all — not just on this day — but every day be thankful for the officers that we have out there that are doing their best to protect us, especially in these days when there is so much unrest and so many people who speak against our law enforcement. They’re here for us,” Lancaster said.
Teri Higdon’s husband was a DPS trooper when was killed in the line of duty more than 30 years ago.
“He loved his job. I’m sure that if you asked that same to any of these family members out here they’d tell you that their spouses or their sons loved their job, too,” Higdon said.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day. He also designated the week it falls on has National Police Week.
Other events happening across East Texas include:
- Jacksonville: 10 a.m., May 15, Jacksonville City Hall, 315 S. Ragsdale St.
- Linden: 10 a.m., May 17, Cass County Law Enforcement & Justice Center, 604 TX Highway 8, Linden
- Palestine: 3 p.m., May 15, City Council Chambers, 504 N. Queen St.