By Philip Jankowski
Killeen Daily Herald
More than anything, Andrew Rameas loved to bust drunk drivers.
The fallen Harker Heights police officer was known throughout the department for his tenacity toward those particular offenders. A traffic specialist who dreamed of becoming a motorcycle traffic officer, Rameas would often tease officers who weren't behind a radar.
Rameas, 33, was killed Dec. 20 in a traffic accident in Killeen while escorting a funeral procession. The Harker Heights Police Department, Rameas' family and several well-wishing officers from Texas law enforcement agencies, including Killeen, Belton, Temple, Fort Hood, Dallas and Rockdale, paid tribute to Rameas Friday during a memorial service in Killeen and a reception in Harker Heights.
Fellow patrol officer from the Blue Team night shift at HHPD Betiale Hawkins said traffic patrol was Rameas' passion. Chief Mike Gentry characterized him as "a hunting dog" on the scent of offenders.
Gentry recalled a pursuit in which Rameas followed a drunk driver off the road and into
residential backyards. Rameas later told the chief he didn't realize he was following the suspect through backyards until he exited his vehicle to make the arrest.
Known as Drew to his colleagues and Andy to his family, Rameas had longed dreamed of a career as a police officer. His family shared photos of a police-themed birthday cake from his youth, and his brother, Patrick Rameas, spoke of how in his youth, Rameas idolized the officers portrayed in the popular police show CHiPs.
Killeen officer Macaire Morrissey spoke of learning the news that one of his good friends had died suddenly. Morrissey immediately thought of Rameas' beloved dogs, Cuffs and Tazer.
Harker Heights Animal Control has been caring for the two dogs since Rameas' death, a gesture emblematic of how HHPD and the city of Harker Heights stepped up to take care of arrangements for the fallen officer, who had no local family.
Morrissey said Rameas would approve of how arrangements were handled. He was buried in his hometown of Waynesburg, Pa., on Christmas Eve. A Harker Heights police officer remained at his side until his interment.
Died serving others
In an emotional message to the crowd, Gentry spoke of how Rameas' sudden death reflected on the fleeting nature of life. While quoting several passages of scripture, Gentry said Rameas handled the responsibility of the authority bestowed upon police officers with the integrity and a high sense of ethics, and that Rameas always acted with "a servant's heart."
"We can have pride in a life well lived, in a man that put himself in harm's way to serve the community. And that's how he died," Gentry said.
Rameas joined HHPD in March 2009. He was a veteran of the Iraq War, where he served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve, 363rd Military Police Combat Support.
He served as an officer for the North Belle Vernon Police Department, Carmichaels Borough Police Department and as a Deputy Sheriff with the Greene County Sheriff's Department.
He served as a federal police officer in the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Pittsburgh and with the Fort Hood Directorate of Emergency Services.
Contact Philip Jankowski at email@example.com or (254) 501-7553.