AUSTIN (KYTX)- The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) today honored the state troopers, agents and Texas Rangers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
State Sen. Brian Birdwell was the keynote speaker for the service, which is one of many ceremonies scheduled across the United States to honor fallen law enforcement officers during National Police Week.
Since 1823, 216 officers serving in the Texas Rangers and DPS have died in the line of duty. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, two police offers have died while on duty in Texas this year, and in 2013, there were 13 line-of-duty deaths statewide.
"Today's ceremony serves as a powerful reminder that the law enforcement profession is inherently dangerous and that our officers put their lives on the line every day in order to protect Texas," said Sen. Birdwell. "As Texans, we honor the selfless officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe; and we are grateful for all the men and women who have sworn to protect this great state at all costs."
Vera Hernandez, wife of DPS Sgt. Paul Hernandez, who died while on duty in 2012 in San Antonio, placed a memorial wreath during the ceremony.
"A courageous few have the character and dedication required to pledge their lives and career to a job that requires them to put the public's safety and needs above their own daily," said Texas Public Safety Commission Chair Cynthia Leon. "The fallen warriors and their families we honor today have made tremendous sacrifices, and we are deeply humbled by and thankful for their bravery and selflessness."
"Today we honor all of the exemplary Texas Rangers, troopers and agents who have paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting this great state. We also remember the sacrifices of their families and vow to never forget their fallen loved ones," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "Because we feel a great loss every time an officer dies, we also recognize each of our law enforcement partners agencies in Texas and the entire United States who lost an officer in the line of duty."