The Killeen Police Department dedicated a memorial to town marshal John T. (J.T.) Blair, who was killed in Killeen in 1917 while intervening in a dispute.
The dedication was part of Peace Officers Memorial Day, which honors all law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.
Eleven officers died in Texas in 2012 and 120 were killed across the nation. Harker Heights Police Chief Mike Gentry also made a note of the first responders killed recently at the explosion in West as well as prosecutors in Kaufman County.
KPD held the somber event at its headquarters with honor guards from all area law enforcement agencies.
“I look at this as an honor and a privilege to do this for the community,” said Killeen Police Chief Dennis Baldwin.
An officer is killed in the U.S. every 57 hours, Baldwin said. “We are grateful to honor their service and sacrifice to this great state and nation.”
The unveiled memorial to Blair remembers one of Killeen’s earliest law enforcement officials during a time when residents elected the leader of their local police.
Blair had been recently elected to his third term when he attempted to break up a dispute between two Killeen residents, according to the book “Historic Killeen” by Gerald D. Skidmore.
Blair was shot multiple times and later died at his home.
His funeral was one of the most well attended in the history of the city, according to an editorial printed in what was then called the Killeen Herald.
The account stated Blair’s funeral procession wound “its way to our lovely little cemetery, there to leave among the silent sleepers, one who will never pass out of the memory of the people of Killeen.”
Harker Heights police officer Andrew Jordan Rameas died on Dec. 20, 2010, in a motorcycle accident during a funeral procession. Heights officer Carl Irving Levin died in 1978 from gunfire.
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