Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Wallace Pack Unit Warden Robert Herrera made it a priority to host the Fallen Officers Ceremony Friday, May 8. During the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the recent passing of TDCJ officers due to coronavirus, the ceremony took on special meaning.
“I appreciate everyone coming out here and showing our respect to those who have passed away in the line of duty,” said Herrera. “This is a system-wide emergency and we’re all in it together. Please keep all your brothers and sisters in your thoughts and prayers just like I know that they are doing for us.”
History of the Fallen Officer Ceremony
A solemn occasion punctuated by the “missing officer table” and the rider less horse, the memorial remembers fallen officers who are gone, but not forgotten.
The rider less horse with the symbolic backward facing boots has become a symbol of the “fallen leader” who is looking back on his comrades for the final time.
The Missing Officer Table includes a round table to show everlasting concern for our missing loved ones; a white tablecloth to symbolize the purity of their motives while answering the call of duty; a sword/weapon to symbolize honor; a single red rose to remind of the life of each missing loved one and the friends who keep the faith; a yellow ribbon to symbolize determination and to remember to take care of each other; a slice of lemon to represent the bitter fate of those killed while protecting society; a pinch of salt to symbolize the tears endured by those missing and those who seek answers; a Bible to represent the strength gained through faith to sustain those who continue to live; an inverted glass to symbolize the missing’s inability to share this day’s toast; and an empty chair “for they are missing.”
In each branch of public service, those who remain take time to remember those who have given their lives in protecting others.
Fallen TDCJ Officers as of 5/8/2020.
James Coleman – Correctional Officer V - Middleton Unit - End of Watch: April 28, 2020; Coy Coffman – Correctional Officer IV - Telford Unit - End of Watch: April 26, 2020; Akbar Schabbaz – Chaplin - Wynne Unit - End of Watch: April 23, 2020; Jonathan Goodman – Correctional Officer V - Clements Unit - End of Watch: April 21, 2020; Kelvin Wilcher – Correctional Officer IV - Estelle Unit - End of Watch: April 6, 2020.