On December 4th, 2017, San Marcos Police Officer Kenneth Copeland and a group of officers knocked on a door attempting to serve a felony arrest warrant to a man.
Police Chief Chase Stapp said his death shook the department to its core. "This is a sobering reminder for everyone, ourselves included, of the job that our police officers have to do and how it can turn deadly at a moment without anyone expecting it,” Stapp said. "Ken was the first officer we lost in the line of duty, and of course I'll say, I hope he is the last. But that adds another layer of impact I think to everyone who works here.”
In the days following his death, Copeland’s brothers in blue, first responders and the community gathered outside the Hays Vounty courthouse in prayer. A night that brought a lot of comfort and support to those mourning Copeland’s passing.
"I'll never forget,” Stapp said. "It snowed heavily that night and you know that's very uncommon here and I think that was Ken's way of letting us know that he was with us."
Officer Copeland was laid to rest on December 13th. Those that knew him said he was a person who understood that wearing the badge was more than enforcing the law - it was about caring for and protecting everyone he met.
"He had a true heart for service. Ken never wanted to promote he wanted to be a police officer because he had the most contact with the people that he served in that capacity. You can't walk through this police department and not find some way to remember ken, just about anywhere," said Stapp.
A wall dedicated to Copeland stands in the department, filled with items donated by local residents.
A daily reminder of the price Copeland paid, to protect his community.