NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - It's because of the rise in shootings at law enforcement that Nacogdoches County Constable William Sowell decided to release a video of a heroic rescue Wednesday.
He's encouraging people to stand up for law enforcement. And while the video is a year old, he said it shows how brave our men and women are behind the badge.
Sowell is a quiet-spoken, even tempered kind of guy. He's not one to seek public attention.
His calm composure is seen in this police video taken last year.
Sowell was witnessing a man trapped in a burning car.
"He's pinned. He can't get out," Sowell said in the video.
The man was fleeing a state trooper.
"This is the trooper he ran from," Sowell said.
In the attempt to get away, the wanted man crashed a car into a tree.
"You can tell," Sowell said. "It's just a matter of seconds before he was going to be beyond saving."
The year-old body cam footage came to mind on Sunday while Sowell was writing a Facebook post.
"Law enforcement has taken a beating lately," Sowell said. "Yes, there are some bad apples out there, but most officers are following the law and want to do the right thing. Fourteen officers in the U.S. have lost their lives just this month. Not much media coverage in that."
Yet Sowell called a news reporter to help him share the body cam footage publicly for the first time. He wants people to see officers saving a human life.
In the video Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Larry Linder urges, "Pull, pull, pull, guys. Damn."
"There's been a lot of negative on law enforcement and these officers are dying," Sowell said. "And sometimes the public is not aware the extra ordinary measures we go to on a daily basis, you know, to protect and serve the people."
So Sowell says thank you, even a year later to Deputy Constable Gerald Smith, Deputy Constable Ruth Gonzales and Linder for giving him the privilege of helping save a human life.
"Police officers are human too," Sowell said. "We have feelings and regardless of what he has done prior to this we felt compelled to try to save his life if there was any way possible. We just couldn't leave him there and let him burn alive."
The man lived. Within weeks he thanked the arresting officers for the rescue. Sowell said officers need to hear the words more often.
"I feel Nacogdoches strongly supports its law enforcement and for that I say thank you," Sowell said, reading from his Facebook post. "I feel the communities' support daily. I'm not sure other parts of the country can say that."
There are a few ways the public can display their respect for law officers.
A tribute comes Thursday. A benefit barbecue will be held for Nacogdoches County Deputy Bailiff Mark Morris. He was injured in the line of duty last month. The event will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mike Perry Motor Company on South Street.
Then later this week, the governor is asking all law enforcement to turn on their emergency lights at 11 Friday morning, the hour a fallen Harris County deputy will be buried.