TEMPLE — Under a rainy sky Thursday, a funeral service and police honor ceremony celebrated the life of Little River-Academy Police Chief Lee Dixon, who was shot and killed in the line of duty June 19.
As the service at Temple Bible Church began, slides of Dixon, his family, friends and animals he loved displayed across three screens while “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” played in the background. The Rev. Steve Taylor of Dice Grove Baptist Church prayed that “our light shine through to help Lee Dixon’s family get through this.”
“Lee knew the Lord and was baptized. It’s very important that we remember that. And Lee was with Christ in the twinkling of an age when his body expired. We know where he’s at. We don’t have to worry about that,” Taylor said.
Bell County Sheriff Eddy Lange said he and his department were instrumental in bringing Dixon, who he’d known for about 20 years, back to Little River-Academy — the place Dixon called home after having been police chief there from 2004 to 2005.
“We lost a great man. Rest assured, we’re even more determined to do our jobs to keep our communities safe because Lee wouldn’t have it any other way,” Lange concluded.
As family, friends and law enforcement officers led a procession to take Dixon back through Little River-Academy once more, residents lined the streets to honor him. Some carried signs reading, “We love you Chief Dixon,” “We love you Mary Dixon” and “You will never be forgotten.”
Lynona “Nonie” Tomastik, city secretary, said the most important conversation she’d had with Dixon in the month she’d known him was about two weeks before he died when he shared the story of his baptism and how that made him feel.
“That helped me find some peace Friday evening,” she said.
“This whole week everything’s been a big blur,” Mayor Ronnie White said. “He was only back here a month and was tickled pink to be here.”
As the procession neared town, the skies poured rain. With the sound of the first motorcycles coming down Farm-to-Market 436, people flocked back to the edge of the road to watch hundreds of vehicles make their way through town. Many people stood with hands or hats over their hearts as they said farewell to Dixon.
Crossing over Interstate 35 in Belton, Temple Fire & Rescue crossed ladders from two engines and hung a U.S. flag from it, and the procession passed underneath it before turning into the Bell County Expo Center parking lot.
A tent protected Dixon’s family as they waited for the Austin Police Pipe & Drum Corps to precede Dixon’s entry.
A folded flag was presented to Dixon’s family and a 21-gun salute sounded loud and clear just before the sun broke through the clouds.
Following a final call by the dispatcher to Dixon’s call number, 3801, with no response by Dixon, the farewell concluded and the sun came out, followed by the piping of “Amazing Grace.”