About 50 people assembled on the north lawn of the Culbertson Fountain in downtown Paris Monday to remember the sacrifice of Lamar County law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.
Reno Police Chief Jeremy Massey opened the ceremony by inviting Barry Loving, pastor of First Christian Church, to offer the invocation.
A color guard, comprised of Paris Police Department officers and Lamar County Sheriff deputies, posted the colors followed by singing of the national anthem by Shannon Jones.
A memorial wreath was placed in front of the lectern by representatives of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Paris Police Department and the Lamar County Sheriff’s Department.
Lamar County Sheriff Scott Cass shared that the Lamar County Commissioner Court had issued a proclamation on May 8 noting the memorial event.
“In every way, by this proclamation, we want to honor and pay tribute to those fallen heroes,” Cass said. “Also, may we recognize and honor the brave men and women who today wear the badge and gun in the service and protection of our communities, our cities, our neighborhoods not only in Lamar County but across this nation alike.”
As of the time of the ceremony, 42 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty nationwide thus far in 2023.
The names of the 13 officers lost in the line of duty while serving in Lamar County were read by representatives of their respective departments.
“For most of us, we stop, we grieve, we send flowers or cards, and then we go back to our daily lives. For the families of these fallen heroes, time stops, and the grief stays with them for the rest of their lives,” Paris Police Chief Richard Salter said.
“I don’t know of a single law enforcement officer who hasn’t had that conversation with their partners, ‘If something happens to me, please look after my family,’” Salter said as his voice quivered.
Lamar County fallen officers include:
- Lamar County Deputy Sheriff Matt Green – EOW March 1, 1867
- Paris Police Officer William Albright – EOW December 4, 1874
- Lamar County Sheriff James Black – EOW November 16, 1884
- Lamar County Deputy Sheriff Henry Clay Davis – EOW December 27, 1885
- Blossom City Marshal Ben J. Hill – EOW October 19, 1902
- Paris Police Officer William Cliff Schultz – EOW March 6, 1904
- Lamar County Precinct 1 Deputy Constable William Robert Draper – EOW February 5, 1909
- Paris Police Officer Duane Cross – EOW July 20, 1920
- Lamar County Sheriff Chief Deputy George Robertson – EOW September 10, 1940
- Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Agent Delbert Pearson – EOW January 18, 1973
- Paris Police Officer David Roberts – EOW September 21, 1985
- Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Jeffery Nichols – EOW March 26, 2016
- Paris Police Officer Chris Widner – EOW August 22, 2021
The memorial service was held as part of Peace Officer Memorial Day, established as part of Police Week in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy.