Amarillo Police remember their fallen in Panhandle-wide ceremony

Amarillo Police remember their fallen in Panhandle-wide ceremony

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - In the 104 years the Amarillo Police Department has existed, 13 of their own have been killed in the line of duty.

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Hung up in the entrance of APD's building, the photos and names of the 13 are displayed for all to see, for the public and officers, alike.

"We want to remember all of these people and make sure that everybody understands that these people have made the ultimate sacrifice for our community and for our department so that we can still go out every day and live the lives that we live," said Cpl. Jeb Hilton of the Amarillo Police Department.

Most recently, the department remembers Officer Justin Scherlen, who died in 2016 from injuries sustained in a car crash while on duty nearly a year prior.

For National Police Week, Officer Scherlen's family went beyond their own grief and sent a memorial wreath to the department to honor the fallen.

"They send us a wreath to honor the thirteen officers that have passed away in the line of duty at the police department and it just means a lot that they're still thinking of all of us when they've gone through such tragedy with their son and the support they still show us and the closeness we all have is just a great deal," said Hilton.

As law enforcement agencies from across the Panhandle gather for an annual memorial wreath-laying ceremony to remember their own, some officers note the emotions it can bring up.

"Some of us that are employed here have worked with those officers and we know them and we know what kind of people they were when they were alive and what kind of officers they were so it can be quite emotional," said Sgt. Carla Burr of the Amarillo Police Department.

With public events like the wreath ceremony, even the smallest showing of community support goes a long way.

"We do it because it's important to us and we want to protect our citizens, but to have even a small group of citizens show up and just stand here with us when we're recognizing these officers that gave their lives, it just means so much because it's just a little bit of reinforcement that what we're doing is the right thing," said Burr.

There will be events all week long during National Police Week to honor local law enforcement.

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