AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Police are honoring two officers that died in the line of duty nearly 100 years ago. At a ceremony Tuesday morning, APD unveiled the memorial markers for officers’ John Gaines and Tom Allen. Both officers were shot near the intersection of 6th and Trinity Street in 1913 and 1915.
Gaines and Allen were the only African American officers on the police force at the time.
“The African American officers… weren’t allowed to make arrests of white people. They actually had to call the station. They see a murder in front of them and they couldn’t make an arrest,” APD Chief Art Acevedo explained. “Think about that Austin and today’s Austin. We should all honor them not just for their sacrifice, not just for their courage, but for having the vision to say we need a place at the table as people of color and we want to serve.”
Officer Jason Huskins created the Austin Police Officer Memorial Project in April of 2008.
“Just because it happened a long time ago doesn’t mean it didn’t have a meaning on the way things are today. It’s important to recognize them no matter how long ago,” Huskins said.
So far, APD has installed four memorials downtown. Each plaque is placed near the location of where the officers died.
The Austin Police Officer Memorial Project has six more memorials to install. The next plaque will be erected in September for Officer Leland Anderson, who died in June of 1975.