Scores of area police officers joined with business and community leaders and residents on Friday in Belton for a ceremony to honor the 11 Texas law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2015. In addition, the new Belton Police Memorial was dedicated.
Harker Heights Police Chief Mike Gentry read the names of each Texas law enforcement officer who died in the line of duty last year. The list included Marlin Police Chief Darrell Lamond Allen and Bell County Deputy Constable Jeffrey Emmons Radford.
The ceremony also included a 21-gun salute from officers of multiple agencies, taps by Bell County Deputy Lole Ortize, and Amazing Grace by Bagpiper Doug Slauson.
The dedication of the memorial, located on the southeast corner of the grounds of the Belton Police Department, was a big part of the ceremony. It was finished this week thanks to generous donations of time and money by volunteers.
Belton Police Chief Gene Ellis said the grass roots efforts to build the memorial was heartening for the law enforcement community, and an indication of the quality people that work and live in Belton.
Originally planned as part of a 2015 expansion of the Belton Police Department, the memorial was removed from the initial project due to funding limitations.
Part of this year's Leadership Belton class selected the memorial as a class project and helped bring it to fruition. The group received support (donations of funds or services) from more than 30 donors, including flag poles from Belton Rotary Club, design services from Fine Line Design and Build, memorial plaques from Harper-Talasek Funeral Home, electrical services from R.K. Bass Electric, and landscape services from Heart of Texas Landscaping.
The total estimated value of the project is more than $50,000.