Community gathers to remember fallen police officers

Posted at 3:39 PM, May 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-18 18:29:47-04

Hundreds of Central Texas citizens and law enforcement officers gathered to remember those who have lost their lives in the line of duty over the years both in McLennan County and in Texas.

The peace officer memorial was held at Indian Spring Park Thursday morning.

"All of us have been in some situation that could have ended badly," Waco Police Chief Ryan Holt said. "As a peace officer, when you leave the house everyday you know that there's a potential that you may have to give your life to the community."

Wilburn Willis witnessed one of those situations when he was a Waco police officer in the 1960s.

"That night when I left to go to work, I said I'll be home, eat breakfast, get cleaned up and we'll go to Sunday school at church. Never knowing that within an hour everything would change completely," Willis told those in attendance at the memorial.

Willis was involved in a shooting where a suspect shot one of his fellow brothers in blue, Sgt. Basquette, who later died at a hospital.

"We didn't have vests then," Willis said.

It's a story that resonates with officers in McLennan County.

"It hurts my heart that I know some family members that didn't have their officer come home that night. You know, it hurts us all like that and we think about that," Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. D.L. Wilson said.

So local peace officers remembered the lives lost on Thursday.

"These are officers that put themselves in harms way, sacrificed in order to serve their communities," Hewitt Police Chief James Devlin said. 

"It's so easy to get caught up in our day to day activities of our lives and of our jobs to pay homage who those who laid down their lives for us. I mean that's what it's about," Holt said.

The city of Waco declared this week National Peace Officer Memorial Week for the city. 

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