AUSTIN (KXAN) — Statewide, law enforcement agencies came together Friday morning to remember the five officers shot and killed in Dallas one year ago. At the request of Gov. Greg Abbott, officers held a minute of silence and turned their patrol cars’ flashing lights on at 10 a.m. In addition to a large remembrance held at the Texas State Capitol, local agencies gathered to honor the men in their own cities and counties as well.
“We hate that we have to come together under circumstances like this,” said Assistant Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon. “But it’s so important that we come, for the families, for the community to see the solidarity, the fact that we stand together, the fact that we don’t ever forget.”
On the one-year anniversary of the killing of officers Lorne Ahrens, Michael Smith, Michael Krol, Patrick Zamarripa and Brent Thompson, officers say a lot of change has come out of the attack.
“There’s a lot of changes that were addressed,” said Lakeway Police Chief Todd Radford, who gathered with his officers for a moment of silence and a prayer. “We started looking at different tactics and techniques as we look at mass events and large crowd events.”
Radford says the shooting also led to more conversations about mental health and is leading departments like his to invest in ballistic vests that are resistant to rifle rounds.
“We want to make sure our officers are as protected as they can be,” Chief Radford said. “You just never know when these things are going to happen.”
On the same day as he was attending the funeral for a fallen San Antonio police officer, Abbott announced Texas will put $25 million toward the rifle-resistant vests for officers. Local law enforcement agencies are encouraged to apply for funding through the grant. Chief Radford says he’s already going through the paperwork to apply. Some other agencies in the area already have the vests. Austin police have some, but a spokeswoman said the department will likely apply for more.