11 fallen officers added to Texas Peace Officers' Memorial

It was an unusually chilly and overcast May morning but it didn't stop hundreds from coming to the State Capitol building for what is now a yearly memorial ceremony honoring Texas peace officers killed in the line of duty.

Ashlee Hardy, the president of Metroplex Concerns of Police Survivors says in the past the ceremony was held every two years.  She fought to change that for a very important reason.

"For myself, my husband was killed in 2007 and I had to wait 2 years to honor my husband.  My daughters were 3 when he was killed and we started to move forward and progress in our grief journey and then 2 years, we were basically thrown back into the very first day when Wes was killed," Hardy said.

Pipes and drums from Fort Worth Police and DPS played during the presentation of colors.  And Sgt. Ray Polks from the Arlington Police Department sang the National Anthem.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick took the podium to thank law enforcement and promise the legislature will do all it can for them.

"When that 911 call is completed, it hooks us up with a total stranger who will show us their love for us and their service to us by doing everything they can to save my family and me...and every other Texan.  So you have our back and we need to in return be sure we do the same," Patrick said.

Patrick handed medals to the families of officers lost in the line of duty.  Among them, the family of Hutto Police Sgt. Christopher Kelley...killed last June by a man he was trying to arrest.

And the family of Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth...gunned down at a gas station near Houston.

John Wilkerson is a deputy with the Bell County Sheriff's office.  He's also with the Texas Municipal Police Association.

"We go to work and we're ready to lay down our lives.  For the officers who have made that sacrifice it's very important that every year we come together and we honor that sacrifice, get some closure for the family, get some closure for their fellow officers," Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson says Bell County lost Jeffrey Radford this year...a deputy with the constable's office.

"We're just as much of a family as the sibling that they're born with.  We go to work with them everyday and we're there with them every day.  We become friends, sometimes best friends.  And when an officer's life is taken it's felt throughout the entire state.  It doesn't matter if you knew that officer or not," Wilkerson said.

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