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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 10, 2018

Attorney General Sessions and U.S. Attorney Bash Recognize Law Enforcement Service and Sacrifice During National Police Week

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas John F. Bash recognized the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local, and tribal police officers on the occasion of National Police Week, and commented on the FBI's 2017 Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report.

“During National Police Week, we pause to reflect on the final sacrifice made by so many men and women who quite literally devoted their lives to keeping us all safe.  Many of these senseless and infuriating homicides do not receive the same level of media coverage as when an officer, justifiably or not, takes a life.  That is perhaps understandable.  But I hope that those who in good faith call for policing reform bear in mind the tremendous risk that an officer takes every time he or she makes a traffic stop, or patrols a dangerous neighborhood, or intervenes in a domestic altercation, or attempts to apprehend a fugitive.  The memories of our fallen brothers and sisters in blue should weigh heavily whenever we must decide whether an officer acted reasonably in using force in a tense situation clouded by uncertainty and mistrust and the risk of sudden violence,” stated United States Attorney John F. Bash.

In the past year, six law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty in the Western District of Texas.  They include:

  • Round Rock Police Officer Charles Whites – Officer Whites passed away on April 27, 2018, from injuries sustained after being struck by a vehicle on February 25, 2018.  At the time, Whites was directing traffic on Interstate 35 near East Bowman Road where a pedestrian had been struck and killed.  White suffered broken ribs, a collapsed lung and bleeding in his brain.
  • San Marcos Police Officer Kenneth Copeland – Officer Copeland died on December 4, 2017, after he was fatally shot by a suspect while executing a warrant at a residence in San Marcos, TX. 
  • Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Damon Allen – Trooper Allen died on November 23, 2017.  Trooper Allen was conducting a traffic stop on Interstate 45 near Fairfield, TX, at approximately 4:00pm.  The driver allegedly shot Trooper Allen in the back with a rifle as Trooper Allen walked back to his vehicle.  Trooper Allen died at the scene.
  • Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Tom Nipper – Trooper Nipper died on November 4, 2017.  Trooper Nipper was conducting a traffic stop on the southbound shoulder of Interstate 35 in Temple, TX, at approximately 3 p.m. when his patrol car was struck from behind by a Chevrolet pickup truck.  Trooper Nipper was transported to local hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
  • San Antonio Police Officer Miguel Moreno, III – Officer Moreno died on June 30, 2017.  The nine-year veteran of SAPD succumbed to injuries sustained during an altercation with a suspect the day before.  Officer Moreno was shot in the head by an individual whom he had pulled over in the 200 block of West Evergreen Street near downtown. 
  • United States Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez – Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez died on November 19, 2017, from injuries sustained while on duty near Interstate 10 east of Van Horn, TX, the day before.


“One officer death is too many,” Attorney General Sessions said.  “While we are inexpressibly grateful to have had a decrease in the number of officers killed in the line-of-duty last year, the number is still far too high.  At the Department of Justice, we honor the memories of the fallen and we pray for their families.  We are also following President Trump's Executive Orders to back the women and men in blue, to enhance law enforcement safety, and to reduce violent crime in America. Those priorities will help keep every American safe, including those who risk their lives for us.  As always, we have their backs and they have our thanks.”

According to statistics collected by the FBI, 93 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2017 – a 21 percent decrease from 2016 when 118 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents.

Additionally, in 2017 there were 46 law enforcement officers killed in line-of-duty incidents as a result of felonious acts – this is a 30 percent decrease from 2016, when 66 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents as a result of felonious acts.

For the full comprehensive data tables about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks and selected assaults resulting in injury, please see the 2017 edition of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report, released today.

In October 1962, Congress passed and President Kennedy signed a joint resolution declaring May 15th as National Peace Officers Memorial Day to honor law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty.  The resolution also created National Police Week as an annual tribute to law enforcement service and sacrifice.  

During Police Week, which is observed from Sunday, May 13 to Saturday, May 19, 2018, our nation celebrates the contributions of police officers from around the country, recognizing their hard work, dedication, loyalty and commitment in keeping our communities safe.

The names of all 93 fallen officers nationwide will be formally dedicated on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, during the 30th Annual Candlelight Vigil on the evening of May 13, 2018.  So that people across the country can experience this unique and powerful ceremony, the vigil will be livestreamed beginning at 8:00 p.m. EDT on May 13th. To register for this free online event, visit www.LawMemorial.org/webcast.

The Candlelight Vigil is one of many commemorative events taking place in the nation’s capital during National Police Week 2018.  For more information about other National Police Week events, please visit www.policeweek.org.  To access the FBI's 2017 Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report, please visit www.fbi.gov.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated May 10, 2018