BELTON, Texas — Peace officers from across Central Texas gathered on May 11 to pay their respects to those who gave their lives in the line of duty.
The Belton Police Department hosted the annual ceremony outside their station, welcoming officers from other stations such as the Killeen and Temple Police Departments.
The ceremony began with a performance of the National Anthem followed by a prayer from Belton Police Chaplain Alton McCallum.
Chief of Police Gene Ellis spoke of the bravery of Texas peace officers, especially in the wake of the mass shooting at an Allen outlet mall only days earlier.
Ellis also recognized many local officers who died in the line of duty in recent years, including Killeen Police Officer Robert Hornsby, Bell County Sheriff's Department Deputy Adam Davis, Little River-Academy Police Chief Lee Dixon, Bell County Deputy Constable Jeffrey Radford and many more.
"Each of those names touch us," said Ellis, "and we remember them. We cannot forget them because it's why we suit up to do what we do."
Ellis quoted Bible verses encouraging those in attendance to seek love over revenge, and to not repay evil with evil, before stating that the department will continue to serve regardless of tragedy or challenges, and will never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The ceremony took place on a difficult day for the Texas police community, as earlier that morning an officer from the Cameron Police Department was killed while responding to a domestic disturbance. The day was also the anniversary of the death of Killeen Police Detective Charles Dinwiddie, who was also killed in the line of duty in 2014.
Newly appointed Belton Mayor David Leigh stepped to the podium and said while the event was to honor those who have fallen, he also wanted to honor those who are still standing and still serving the Central Texas community.
In his first official duty as mayor, Leigh read a proclamation declaring National Police Week to be observed from May 14-May 20, and asking residents to salute the officers who serve the local community.
Bell County Sheriff Eddy Lange then read the names of all of the peace officers who were killed in the line of duty in Texas over the previous year, and a rose was placed into a display of Texas in the location where they served. Officers then fired off a three-volley salute and played "Taps" in honor of the fallen.
The Killeen Police Department thanked the Belton Police Department for hosting the event. Belton Police extended their condolences and support to the Cameron Police Department and all those serving across the state and the country.
You can watch the full ceremony on Facebook at this link.
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