In downtown Nacogdoches a tribute is paid to the 165 peace officers, nationwide, who died last year in the line of duty. Since 1871, there have been eight slain officers who served Nacogdoches County.
Many residents attended the service. There were public servants too, including members of the Nacogdoches Fire Department. The memory of losing one of their own in the line of duty is still very fresh. Captain Ed Ivy's services were just two weeks ago. He died of an apparent heart attack while at a training seminar.
At the law enforcement memorial guests are reminded of Deputy Sheriff Tom Sitton by his two lovely daughters. Since his death in 1996, they come, looking more grown up each time. For them the memorial service program remains similar from year to year, but the service's significance grows every year.
Law enforcement remains to be one of the most dangerous jobs a person can hold. Nacogdoches County Sheriff Thomas Kerss said, " Part of what makes the job so hazardous is it's unpredictable. We really don't know what situation can turn to that fatal moment."
In the last ten years, nationwide, 1,649 peace officers were killed in the line of duty. On average, that's 165 a year. The top reasons for their deaths are car accidents and being shot.
As Sitton, Constable Darrell Lunsford was shot. His 89 year old father, Travis Lunsford, prays no names will be added to the local list. " You never know, but we're so thankful to the good lord and our prayer is they'll continue not to add one to it."