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The Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office marked the observance of National Police Week and Peace Officers Memorial Day with a Fallen Heroes ceremony on Thursday, May 14, 2015. The ceremony pays tribute and honors those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra hosted the event and was joined by several elected officials and police chiefs from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Sheriff Eddie Guerra thanked the deputies and their families for their service, honoring them for giving the ultimate sacrifice to the citizens of Hidalgo County. Sheriff's Office Division Chief Joel Rivera read off the names of the five members of the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office who lost their lives, they include Deputy Sheriff Sam R. Tidwell, Deputy Sheriff George Dennett, Deputy Sheriff Alvin Marcellus Albrecht, Narcotics Investigator Manuel Abelardo Segovia, Jr., and Deputy Benito Eduardo Bravo.
Afterwards the sheriff invited representatives from other agencies to step forward and honor their fallen heroes. One by one members of Hidalgo County Constable's Precinct 3, City of Mission Police Department, U.S. Border Patrol, Texas Department of Public Safety Region 3, Texas Game Wardens, the McAllen Police Department and the Willacy County Sheriff's Department read the names of their lost comrades.
County Judge Ramon Garcia, who was the keynote speaker, expressed his deepest gratitude and sympathy on behalf of the Commissioners Court to the families, who were in attendance, of the five fallen deputies who have been killed in the line of duty since 1935. This year 117 officers across the nation made the ultimate sacrifice, thankfully not a single officer on this year’s roll call was from Hidalgo County, although we did lose an officer in one of our neighboring counties - Willacy County Sheriff’s Deputy Alejandro Martinez, Sr., said Judge Garcia.
"As elected officials, our first responsibility is to protect our people – whether in their houses, their neighborhoods, or their communities," said Judge Garcia. "This is not possible without the heroic courage of our public safety officers who by their sacrifices and commitment to duty provide our community with a strong sense of security and peace of mind."
Edinburg Police Chief Rolando Castañeda shared a touching story of the loss of his former partner.
"As I look back with DPS and now as Chief of Police I remember all my fellow troopers, rangers and police officers that died serving the citizens of this state. But there is one trooper I think about everyday, this trooper was David Trooper," said Chief Castañeda. "He was my partner, my friend and a member of my family."
Chief Castañeda worked with Trooper Rucker at the Department of Public Safety where they patrolled in the Port Isabel area. On September 29, 1981, Trooper Rucker was shot and killed during a traffic stop. Although he was not able to radio in the stop, Trooper Rucker was found with the gunman's social security card gripped in his hand, which led to his arrest a week later.
At the end of the ceremony a moment of silence was held for all of our fallen heroes and was preceded by a twenty-one gun salute, TAPS, and the ceremonial walk of a riderless horse, symbolic of the loss of the fallen heroes.