Beaumont Police Department honors fallen officers

Photos by Sharon Brooks
Story Attachment: 

Family and friends of fallen Beaumont police officers joined the department and a community of first responders at a ceremony at the downtown police station May 11 to honor those killed in the line of duty.

Uniformed officers escorted family members of fallen officers to their seats in the front rows near the steps leading up to the memorial star displaying badges emblazoned with the names of 17 officers killed while protecting and serving the populace.

Officer Jeff Courts played the bagpipes and later taps, and the Beaumont Police Department Honor Guard presented the colors, flying the flags at half-mast in remembrance of their brothers at arms. BPD Officer Odis Butler sang the National Anthem and Mr. Paul Vick sang “I Can Only Imagine” at the ceremony. The BPD Rifle Team performed a 21-gun salute in honor of those killed and a wreath of remembrance was placed at the base of the police memorial at the station steps.

Chief James P. Singletary welcomed those gathered for the ceremony and thanked the officers under his charge who put their lives on the line on a daily basis.

“This is a very important day and week for law enforcement agencies all over the country,” said Singletary. “This is a time when we honor the patriot, the law enforcement officers who have given the ultimate sacrifice protecting and serving the citizens of this great country of ours. Every day, our officers come to work to do a job that is becoming more and more dangerous. Somewhere in the back of their minds, they may think, ‘This could be the last day for me.’ They rarely talk about it. … Our officers, deputies, agents in Beaumont and Southeast Texas are some of the best law enforcement officers in the country. The support … from our citizens has been overwhelming. Many of you have no idea how much that means to our officers to know that our officers are not out there by themselves.”

Speaking at the event, Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames said the fallen officers would never be gone from the hearts of their families or the people of Beaumont who they served, and that they would never be forgotten.

“Each and every day, men and women in law enforcement put themselves at risk to help us and all Beaumont citizens to feel safe and secure,” Ames remarked. “Most of them return home each day or night to their loved ones, knowing they could be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice. It is a heavy burden that every police officer accepts willingly. It is my hope that they all know … how much we appreciate their courage. Without their sacrifice, there would be no justice.”