Fallen peace officers honored in Smith County


POSTED: Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 5:44pm

UPDATED: Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 6:13pm

President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day in 1962.

Now, every year on that date, officers around the country take time to remember and pay tribute to fallen peace officers, and this was no exception in Smith County.

Thursday, hundreds of officers and family members gathered in downtown Tyler to honor the fallen officers in both Smith County and across the state.

Since the 1800's, 14 officers have died in the line of duty in Smith County. Last year 13 officers died state-wide.

During Thursday's memorial family members were walked by area officers to the memorial that named all 14 of our local fallen heroes, where they placed a rose next to their loved ones name.

"We have 14 officers that are on our monument here and we bring their families out and let them know that we haven't forgotten them even going back to 1851," said Tyler Police Officer, Don Martin. "So again, it's just our way to say thank you for the sacrifice that they paid."

Lena Runnels attended Thursday's memorial to honor her brother, who died three years ago.

"It was a great honor for us to have an officer in the family and he loved his duty, loved his duty," Runnels said.

Runnels son was also in attendance, helping conduct the service from the Smith County Sheriff's Office.

"It feels really great because I can follow in my father's footsteps and my uncle's footsteps," said Officer Ronnie Lampkin. "He always taught me to do the right thing...it's a great honor to be here and to serve the community back."

The memorial took place on the squre in Downtown Tyler from 12 p.m. until 1 p.m. Thursday, May 15.

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