Standing in front of a large group of law enforcement officers, their families and other guests, Bangs Police Chief Troy Grusendorf read 11 names Wednesday morning outside the Law Enforcement .
They were the names of the 11 Texas law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty last year, and Grusendorf read them during the National Police Week Memorial Service. Among the names: former Brown County deputy Billy "Bubba" Kennedy, who was shot and killed on Oct. 2 while working as an Upton County deputy.
Grusendorf did not read the name of Killeen police detective Charles Dinwiddie, who died Sunday after being shot, with three other Killeen officers, while trying to serve a warrant. Dinwiddie's name will be read at next year's memorial.
"Sadly, Texas usually leads the nation in the number of officers killed each year in the line of duty," Brownwood Police Chief Mike Corley said. "And less than a week ago, about 100 miles away, we saw how close to home that is, in Killeen."
Corley said the memorial service is a time "to say thank you to our fallen heroes."
The service is held as part of National Police Week, which, Corley said, was established in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy.
Across the nation, law enforcement officials are trying to reduce the number of officers killed each year through the "under 100" program, Corley said. The hope is that the number of officers killed in a year will be below 100, but that hasn't happened since 1944, he said.
Last year, 105 offices were killed across the nation in the line of duty, Corley said.
This is a good week to say "thank you" to police officers, Corley said. No matter what the size and shape of an officer's badge, "we're all brothers," he said.
The service included an invocation by police Chaplain Dan Chapman, the reading of the poem "A Part of America Died" by Early Police Chief David Mercer, the lowering of the flags and the placement of a wreath by Corley and Sheriff Bobby Grubbs.