Shocked and grieving over the death of their fellow officer Wednesday evening, Brownwood police officers continued their mission Thursday of taking care of the community they have sworn to protect.
That was the message of Police Chief Terry Nichols, who with a detective gave an emotional tribute to officer Bryan Greenrock Thursday at the Law Enforcement Center. Nichols, detective Harold Thomas and City Manager Emily Crawford, speaking to the media, thanked the community for the outpouring of support following Greenrock’s death in a two-vehicle traffic accident.
Crawford said she wanted to express on behalf of Mayor Stephen Haynes and the Brownwood City Council “just our deep sadness for losing Officer Greenback. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and with our police department.
“We thank the community for their outpouring of love. We’ve received phone calls at City Hall, and obviously the response on social media has been tremendous.”

Fund set up at Citizens National Bank
    Thomas, president of the Brownwood Municipal Police Association, said the organization has set up an account called “Greenrock” at Citizens National Bank to benefit Greenrock’s family.
Greenrock — described by colleagues as a superb officer with a heart of gold — was off duty when the accident occurred around 6:30 p.m. on U.S. Highway 183, six miles north of Early. Greenrock, a resident of Early, was 42. His body was taken to Heartland Funeral Home in Early. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Monday at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church.
Greenrock’s northbound pickup collided with a southbound U-Haul rental truck that entered the oncoming traffic lane, the Department of Public Safety said. Greenrock’s 11-year-old son was a passenger in his father’s pickup and sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Greenrock, who previously worked at the Coleman Police Department, joined the Brownwood department in 2013.
A phone call ‘you never want to get’    
    “The Brownwood Police Department and the community woke up (Thursday) morning to the tragic reality that we lost one of our own (Wednesday) night,” Nichols said. “… It’s a phone call, as chief, as any human, you never want to get.”
Nichols said the police department is “incredibly saddened … just struck down at what happened. The other side is, the men and women are doing their jobs. The 9-1-1 operators are still answering calls. The officers are still out doing what they do.
“They’re having to dig deep, be strong and put their personal feelings aside, and carry on the mission of the police department, and that’s taking care of their community.”

DPS statement
   According to the DPS:
Jamie Bilbrey, 29, of Andrews, was driving the southbound U-Haul truck when it drifted off the roadway to the right. The driver over-corrected to the left, sending the truck into a skid and crossing the southbound and northbound lanes.
Greenrock veered to the right, trying to avoid the crash, but Greenrock’s pickup collided with the U-Haul truck as it continued its skid into the east-side ditch. Greenrock was not wearing a seatbelt, the DPS said.
Bilbrey was flown to Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene, where her condition was unavailable as of Thursday afternoon.

‘A great officer’
     Nichols, noting he’s been Brownwood’s police chief for just under a year, said he knew Greenrock for “11 months and 21 days. … He was a great officer. I found him to be very smart, humble and an example of the kind of person I think we all strive to be.”
Nichols said Greenrock was a field training officer who helped train new officers. In an earlier meeting with Greenrock and other field training officers, Nichols said, he was “just awestruck at his professionalism and ethics.”
Greenrock was also skilled at construction work, Nichols said. Thomas, who also joined the Brownwood Police Department in 2013, said Greenrock was part of the crew that built Thomas’ mother’s home at Lake Brownwood.
Part of a police family
    Greenrock’s death has been “like a knife going into your heart,” Thomas said. “We’ll always remember him for what he was.”
Thomas described Greenrock as a man who was a colleague, officer and a friend. “He’s part of a police family … we’ve gotten so many calls, people wanting to donate or help here and there.
“ … It’s tough to lose an officer in these circumstances. It’s tough when you lose them on duty, but even off-duty, when it comes this sudden.”
Greenrock was a no-nonesense, “good old boy” who just took care of business, Thomas said.
“But he had a heart of gold,” Thomas said. “Most officers do. … We’re here because we want to help people … all (officers) want to do is help people, change lives. That’s what we do, and that’s what he did. That’s his legacy. Everybody who came in contact with him never forgot him because he made an impression.”

A quiet department
    Thomas said when another officer called him Wednesday night to tell him about Greenrock’s death, “it was kind of like disbelief. It takes me back to the tragedy of my own son. He’s a friend, and we love him dearly. This department loved him. … his family is our family now.”
Thomas said he agreed with another detective, Doug Hurt, who commented earlier that the department was “the quietest it’s ever been” Thursday morning.