Every year, communities across our state and nation pause to pay tribute to those who gave their lives in duty and service to their community through memorial services, ceremonies, and candlelight vigils. Tied to National Police Week, it’s a time for us as neighbors to collectively honor the courage and legacy of these fallen heroes.
Over the weekend, we joined dozens of law enforcement agencies for the Texas Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony in Austin, a few blocks from our state capitol grounds. Gov. Abbott presented medals to the families of those who died in 2019 and 2020 during the tribute, including the family of our fallen brother Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal. As Deputy Dhaliwal’s name was added to the memorial monument, we stood by his father. He would have turned 44 years old on Monday.
On Thursday evening, we hosted the 2021 Harris County Peace Officers’ Memorial Service at Crime Stoppers of Houston’s headquarters, along with our partners at the Harris County Constable Offices and Harris County Sheriff’s Office Foundation. County Judge Lina Hidalgo delivered a heartfelt keynote address.
These fallen heroes received a special honor during the memorial:
- Deputy Omar Diaz | End of Watch: July 6, 2019
- Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal | End of Watch: Sept. 27, 2019
- Sgt. Raymond Scholwinski | End of Watch: May 6, 2020
- Deputy Juan Menchaca | End of Watch: June 13, 2020
- Honorary Deputy Cornelius Anderson | End of Watch: July 12, 2020
- Precinct 5 Constable Deputy Mark Brown | End of Watch: July 25, 2020
- Deputy Johnny Tunches | End of Watch: Nov. 2, 2020
- Detention Officer Robert Perez | End of Watch: Feb. 2, 2021
- Deputy Alexander Gwosdz | End of Watch: April 22, 2021
Their names are now engraved on the granite tribute towers at the Harris County Fallen Peace Officers Memorial Garden.
It’s an annual remembrance with Harris County law enforcement leaders, peace officers, public officials, and the family members of the fallen Harris County deputies. The memorial is a solemn reminder of the duty that peace officers carry out and the sacrifices they and their loved ones make.
During the ceremony, members of our Honor Guard and our county’s law enforcement leaders read the names of those who had died, offering yellow roses to the survivors. The ceremony included a memorial roll call, Taps, rider-less horse, 21-gun salute, and flyover.
Our agency has recorded 51 in the line of duty deaths since its formation in 1837. We were truly blessed to have each of them in our Sheriff’s Office family. An additional 19 Harris County peace officers have also given everything in service to our profession.
Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has added a layer of risk to our jobs. It’s taken the lives of five of our colleagues and friends.
Our fallen brothers in blue rose to the occasion and answered the call, day in and day out. It’s the oath they swore and the promise they made to Harris County residents. They served with dignity and distinction until their final days.
As peace officers, we are a part of a big family of public servants. This includes the loved ones behind our badges and our extended family in blue at partner agencies. Every single shift, their family served with them.
Wearing this badge is a crucial undertaking. It’s a symbol of public faith and trust.
Whether it’s patrolling a neighborhood, finding a lost child, investigating a fatal crash, ensuring the safety of those in our jail facilities, or any of our other countless duties, protecting communities is what we do.
What unites us is so much more than a uniform, a badge, or a patch; It’s an unwavering commitment to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live.
Our fallen deputies did just that.
This is also an opportunity to acknowledge and thank those currently protecting our community. They must now carry on this important work. We value their service and continued dedication to public safety.
We encourage you to visit our memorial page to learn more about our fallen heroes. Their love for the job inspires so many of us to press on. We miss them dearly.