Fallen peace officers honored in downtown Tyler

TYLER (KYTX) - Every day, law enforcement officers risk their lives to keep us safe. Some have given the ultimate sacrifice, and Smith County citizens are honoring them.

Law enforcement officers representing all branches, came from all over Smith County Monday to honor the fallen.

Sadly, the state of Texas led the nation with 11 total line of duty deaths in 2012. Over the years, 14 have died in Smith County.

Herb Buie held his head high as he walked through a line of officers, and placed a rose at the memorial of his uncle, Malcom Jeff Buie.

"He was killed in the line of duty June 26, 1946. He was the first one killed in the line of duty from the Tyler Police Department," Herb Buie said.

He remembers the day his uncle was stabbed to death in downtown Tyler.

"I came by from my paper route, and the sad thing, I could still see the blood by the parking meter exactly across from the Tyler theater," he said.

Buie's uncle's killer was sent to prison, but after all these years, it still brings tears to his eyes.

"He was a great uncle, he was sure missed. He was a very young man but a great police officer and he was faithful to his job and did his duty."

At the ceremony, Tyler Police Officer Don Martin read aloud the names of the fallen.

"Deputy Robert L Britton Jr., Smith County Sheriff's Office, end of watch, March 28, 2011."

The last person on the list of 14 fallen Smith County officers, is the son of former Tyler Assistant Police Chief, Leo Britton.

"It's just real sad to us," Britton said. "He loved everybody and he liked to help people. He just loved that kind of work."

Robert Britton was killed in March of 2011, while working a traffic accident.

"I'm just sad that he's gone," his father says. "Whatever he did I'm proud of him, but it makes me sad every time I think about it."

His pain, like so many other families, is eased by a line of local officers who stand together as a brotherhood.

"They put their lives on the line every day to protect us and we certainly do thank them for all their work," Buie said.

Those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, will never be forgotten.

During the ceremony, officers lowered the flag to half staff, and it remained there for the rest of the day.

Monday was also a national day of recognition for fallen peace officers. Leo Britton says his granddaughter and daughter in law went to Washington D.C. where Robert is being honored for his service.

Honor guards from the Tyler Police Department, the Department of Public Safety, the Smith County Sheriff's Department and Lindale Police Department led Monday's service.



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