BPD honors fallen horoes with annual memorial
As the family of each fallen officer placed a yellow carnation on a wreath honoring all of the department’s officers killed in the line of duty, some loved ones sobbed.
Others saluted their fallen mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters with steadfast hands as part of the Beaumont Police Department’s Fallen Heroes memorial Wednesday, May 7. The ceremony is held every year at Beaumont’s police station to commemorate BPD’s officers killed in action.
At least 200 citizens, and city and county officials attended the ceremony. City council members, prosecutors from the District Attorney’s Office and close to 100 uniformed officers including Chief Jimmy Singletary were also in attendance.
“It was not how they died that made them heroes,” Chief Singletary told attendees. “Rather how they lived.”
Singletary was sure to thank Beaumont’s 100 Club, a group of citizens who reach out to the families of officers and firefighters who die while in the line of duty in order to provide counseling and other assistance.
“I also want to recognize and say thank you to the board members of our 100 Club of Southeast Texas,” Singletary said. “They do so much good work in our community and are always there to support us and support our families in our darkest hours.”
Jefferson County’s newest — and youngest — district attorney appointed some three months ago by Gov. Rick Perry spoke after Singletary and said he too has lost an officer close to him and his family.
“I started thinking of my good friend Brian Bachman,” Cory Crenshaw said. “Brian Bachman was a constable in College Station, Texas and this summer will mark the two-year anniversary of his death. Brian Bachmann left his favorite barbecue restaurant on Aug. 19 of 2012 and on the way back to his office, he went to serve an eviction notice and he was assassinated on the front steps as he served that eviction notice. I think of his memory, his loved ones. The vision of Brian’s family and his loved ones are on my mind today as I honor so many other fallen men and women who have given their service to this community.”
As a prosecutor who has tried some of the most horrific cases of child abuse and violent crime, Crenshaw said he is honored to serve the people of this community like so many officers do every day. At the same time, Crenshaw hinted that the work of fighting crime is never over.
“I’m a career prosecutor. I’ve never had the honor of serving my community as a police officer. I have, however, had the great privilege and blessing of having many of my best friends be officers and working alongside so many of you in our pursuit of justice,” he said. “We are the good guys. You all here who wear a badge are the good guys. And I’ve got some bad news: The bad guys outnumber us. There are thousands of criminals across Jefferson County, and there are just a few hundred of you that wear the badge.”
Crenshaw invoked Abraham Lincoln to close his speech, quoting Lincoln’s first inaugural address when he said “The mystic cords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
Crenshaw said BPD’s officers and others like them are like angels in each community they serve.
“I believe our officers are those people acting angelic day in and day out with their daily duties, whether they’re responding to a scream coming from an alley, pulling a body out of a wrecked car, or giving their own life in the ultimate sacrifice so that we may be safe in our beds at night,” Crenshaw said.
After Crenshaw spoke, BPD offered their fallen comrades music from a bagpipe and a cracking 21-gun salute.
Kercia Levy, wife of fallen BPD officer Milton Levy, who died in a police pursuit on Nov. 14, 1992 after 16 years as a narcotics detective, said she’s grateful to BPD for honoring her late husband. Standing next to her three granddaughters, one of whom was celebrating a birthday, Levy said the ceremony was touching.
“It’s indeed an honor. I’m so grateful to Beaumont PD,” Levy said. “They worked alongside him, but to still remember him and honor him, that means so much to us.”
Cindy Hebert, mother of Bryan Hebert, who was killed while deploying tire spikes on Dowlen Road in July 2011, said she too was touched by the ceremony but still harbors animosity toward her son’s killer.
John Wesley Nero pleaded no contest Thursday, March 14, 2013, in Judge John Stevens’ Criminal District Court to the capital murder that took Hebert’s life.
Cindy said Nero’s plea and subsequent outburst in court during her family’s impact statement that day still lingers.
“It didn’t give me any closure. He has life without parole, but he’s still breathing. His parents can still see him,” Cindy said. “I guess I’m bitter still, but I’m sure one day that’ll pass.
“I’m just glad they do this to remember him. It’s a good thing.”