Gray and drizzly weather provided a fitting backdrop for a subdued National Peace Officers Memorial Day ceremony early Friday in front of the Kerrville Police Department.
COVID-19 restrictions prevented the usual large gathering that accompanies this annual event, but neither weather nor the coronavirus threat could keep KPD members from honoring and remembering their brothers and sisters in blue who have paid the ultimate price over the past year to keep us safe.
Nationwide, 146 law enforce-ment officers died in the line of duty in 2019, and another 77 have passed away in just the first four-and-a-half months of 2020. Those numbers weigh heavily on all of us, but especially on the men and women of the Kerrville Police Department, who know full well that every traffic stop, every domestic violence report, every 911 emergency call can quickly transform into a life-and-death situation.
Despite this, these public servants quietly perform their duties 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a grace and dignity that does Kerrville proud.
As an example, KPD is a three-time winner of the Texas Police Chiefs Association’s prestigious “Recognized Law Enforcement Agency” award, which evaluates a police department’s compliance with more than 168 Best Business Practices for Texas Law Enforcement. Police agencies recognized by the TPCA must undergo a rigorous onsite inspection and conduct an extensive self-review of the agency’s policies, procedures, facilities and operations.
Awards like the one just mentioned demonstrate the KPD’s competence, but it’s the everyday stories we hear that show where our local officers’ hearts really lie. Whether it be changing tires for motorists in distress, mentoring students in area schools, connecting with the public at National Night Out and Coffee With a Cop events, or making sure that children receive Christmas gifts through the department’s annual Blue Santa program, KPD officers demonstrate again and again their commitment to community service.
In the end, though, the Kerrville Police Department’s primary function is to provide a front-line defense against crime that most of us never see — and that unfortunately makes it easy for us to often take their efforts for granted.
Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen. As we conclude National Police Week, I encourage all of our citizens to reach out to our KPD officers with words of support and encouragement. Even more, I implore you to pray for them. Ask the good Lord to watch over them, to keep them safe, to provide them with the wisdom they need to carry out their duties, and most of all to protect them from harm.
Mark McDaniel is the Kerrville City Manager. He can be reached at Mark.McDaniel@kerrvilletx.gov.