The Kingwood Observer

By Jennifer Summer

Three pictures stood on easels to the side of the stage, showing three men in uniform with a smile on their face.

All three men — Houston Police Officer Richard Martin, Harris County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Darren Goforth and Harris County Sheriff’s Office Detention Officer Tronoski Jones — were all killed in the line of duty.

For the second year, District 2 U.S. Rep. Ted Poe hosted the North Houston Second Annual Police Memorial Ceremony Monday, May 16 at the Humble Civic Center where local police officers were honored for their hard work and dedication.

National Police Week is marked May 15 – 21 by communities across the nation hosting similar memorial ceremonies to honor local, state and federal law enforcement officers for their tireless dedication and to remember those lost in fulfillment of their duties.

“We honor those police officers who have been killed in the line of duty and those who continue to serve,” Poe said. “Today, we honor the great men and women who put on the uniform, put on the badge, put on the shield and put themselves in harm’s way for the rest of us.”

Law enforcement officers from various departments such as the Humble Police Department, Houston Police Department, the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety Region 2 and the Texas Rangers were all recognized during the event.

City of Humble Mayor Merle Aaron was the first to speak during the memorial ceremony where he thanked the sea of blue for their continued service to the community.

“When I look out at this crowd, I see courage, integrity, honor, devotion and character,” Aaron said.

Humble Police Chief Delbert Dawes welcomes guests, but especially the future police officers that were in the audience during the special ceremony.

“I think about my time when I was a patrolman and I would get up, put my uniform on, tell my wife and family goodbye and there was a little thought in the back of my mind, how do I pay it forward,” Dawes said. “e got out, complete our duties each day to protect our loved ones and our community and we do the best we can; that’s how we can pay it back.”

Peace officers have protected Americans for over 200 years, but the nation has formally recognized their service and remembered their sacrifices since 1962 when President John F. Kennedy first proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Houston Police Officers’ Union President Ray Hunt recalled a recent story featuring HPD Officer Richard Martin’s son who attended an event in honor of his dad and was nervous how he looked because he knew that he would be the representative for his father.

“At this moment, I realized not only was Martin a heck of a police officer, he was an outstanding father,” Hunt said. “We’ve had 113 officers killed in Houston PD since it’s inception and number 113 was Martin.”

HPD Interim Chief Martha Montalvo followed Hunt’s comments by adding that it was also important to honor and recognized the loved ones of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect their community.

“We are eternally grateful for what these officers did and that these officers are heroes in the truest sense of the word; they are heroes because they confronted darkness so that we can be safe and heroes because they did something they felt was right for the greater good of society,” Montalvo said.

Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman and DPS Region 2 Commander Duane Steen were among the fellow guest speakers during the ceremony.

Janet Green, a mother of a deceased officer and from Greater Houston COPS, read aloud the 13 names of Texas peace officers killed in the line of duty in 2015.

At the conclusion of the event, Poe discussed the “Thin Blue Line” which is often a symbol or emblem that represents that camaraderie between officers and is often used to commemorate fallen law enforcement officers.

“The Thin Blue Line is a phrase — it’s a thin line that separates the good from evil, a thin line that protects a civil society from anarchy,” Poe said. “I think Texas appreciates law enforcement officers better than most other places on Earth.”