Congressman Ted Poe observes National Police Week
Congressman Ted Poe listed the brutal statistics.
“There were 135 peace officers killed last year in the United States,” Poe told a group gathered for the annual North Houston Police Memorial Ceremony held May 16 at the Humble Civic Center.
“There were 64 police officers shot and 24 ambushed.”
The Humble congressman listed the local statistics.
“Twenty-one police officers were shot in Texas, five canine officers died and three Harris County officers were killed,” he said.
Poe once again gathered together police officers, elected officials, survivors and concerned members of the Harris County community during National Police Week to commemorate the lives and sacrifices of the Texas peace officers killed in 2016 in the line of duty.
“When these men and women put that badge or shield on every day,” Poe said, “they put it over their heart. That’s a sign of why they go out every day to protect us.”
The annual ceremony began with the sound of a single bagpipe played by Captain Hunter Schappaugh with the Houston Fire Department, followed by the Posting of the Colors by the Texas Department of Public Safety Region 2 Honor Guard, and then a prayer from 96-year-old Lt. Tom Morgan of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the oldest active police officer in Texas.
“We ask You, oh God, to bring each police officer home safely today,” Morgan prayed.
Prior to honoring each of the fallen police officers and canine officers who died in the line of duty, several dignities made short statements about the importance of remembering the officers who have died.
“My wife and I heard the sirens this morning as we were having our morning coffee,” Humble Mayor Merle Aaron said. “She said, ‘Someone needs help.’”
Looking out into the sea of blue in the civic center audience, Aaron said, “Thank you to all of you for being that help.”
Humble Police Chief Delbert Dawes spoke of two words, discouragement and its opposite, encouragement.
“In the book of Samuel,” Dawes said, “David and his warriors returned to their village with the women and children gone. That was discouragement. When David and his men went out and brought their loved ones home, that was encouragement. When we lose someone in the line of duty, that is discouragement, but we must overcome it by knowing we’re doing the right thing. That is encouragement.”
Houston Police Officers Union President Ray Hunt encouraged the many officers in the audience to visit the National Police Memorial.
“It’s an inspiration,” Hunt said. “My heart aches for every family who loses someone, but we never forget because we are the Family of the Blue.”
“The hardest thing is to lose a police brother or sister,” said Chief Deputy Armando Tello with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, “but remember, we are with you always. We are the family of police.”
Police Day came about in 1962 when President John F. Kennedy declared May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman told the group.
“There are 20,000 names etched into the Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.,” Herman said. “What disturbs me is that there is space on that wall for an additional 30,000 names. To all of you, thank you for what you do, and ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.’”
A photo of each peace officer and canine officer was displayed and a bell was rung as the 26 names from Texas were called.
Poe ended the memorial ceremony by assuring the civic center group, “We will hold this ceremony again next year. It is important for us to remember our fallen officers.”
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