Honoring fallen men, women in blue

Chief Concerns

Scott Burroughs is chief of the Port Aransas Police Department.

Scott Burroughs is chief of the Port Aransas Police Department.

National Peace Officers Memorial Day is observed on May 15 each year to pay tribute to the local, state and federal peace officers who have died in the line of duty. Police Week occurs during the calendar week in which the Memorial falls. I have served with thousands of dedicated peace officers during my career and attended dozens of funerals for those that fell in the service of others.

I had met some of them, but I did not know most of the officers whose funerals I attended. None the less, I mourned them as if I had lost a brother or sister. There are three that I had the honor to have served with side by side.

It is with my sincere reverence that I dedicate this week’s column to Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Carlos (Charlie) Warren, Travis County Sheriff’s Deputy Keith Ruiz and Travis County Sheriff ’s Deputy Jessica Hollis.

On March 05, 1991, Trooper Carlos Warren was shot and killed when he interrupted a kidnapping at a rural highway rest area on Highway 71 near Del Valle (East Austin). Trooper Warren had served with the Texas Highway Patrol for five years. He is survived by his parents, two daughters, and three brothers. Charlie was just 30 years young when he was murdered.

On February 15, 2001, Senior Deputy Keith Ruiz was shot and killed as he and other Travis County SWAT team members were attempting to serve a narcotics search warrant. As deputies attempted to enter the premises, a mobile home, the suspect immediately opened fire, striking Deputy Ruiz between two panels on his vest. Another deputy returned fire wounding the suspect. Deputy Ruiz was airlifted by a Starflight helicopter to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Deputy Ruiz had served with the Travis County Sheriff ’s Office for 12 years. He is survived by his wife and three sons. He was 36 when he was murdered.

On September 18, 2014, Senior Deputy Jessica Hollis drowned after she was washed away in her patrol car while she checked roadways for high water during a period of heavy rain. She was near Mansfield Dam, upstream of Lake Austin, when her patrol car got swept into the river. Her patrol car was located approximately 15 minutes later but she was not with it. Deputy Hollis’ body was recovered from Lake Austin the next day.

Deputy Hollis had served with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office for seven years. She is survived by her husband (an Austin Police Officer) and son. She was 35 years old.

Since the night Carlos Warren was murdered, 5,985 other officers have lost their lives in the line of duty, including 102 that have died so far this year (as of May 6, 2022).

Please join me next week in paying homage to the men and women who risked everything when they strapped a gun to their hips and pinned a badge on their chest to stand between our families and the bad guys.

For Trooper Warren, Senior Deputy Ruiz, Senior Deputy Hollis and all my other brothers and sisters who are not coming home tonight, rest in peace. We Will Never Forget you or your sacrifice.

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