The recent tragic murder of two New York City police officers as they sat in their parked patrol cars is a reminder of the grim fact seven Wichita Falls law enforcement officers have been killed in the history of this city’s law enforcement, according to the Wichita Falls Police Department. It is also a reminder that citizens need to support our law enforcement officials if for no other reasons than they serve and protect us here in Wichita Falls, Texas. As we come to the end of 2014, this is an appropriate time to remember those officers down.
The most recent Wichita Falls Police officer murdered was Lt. Walter Tommy Collins who was shot to death by a sniper in the summer of 1989. The defendant in this case opened fire on several defenseless construction workers on the eastern edge of this city of 105,000. Several officers responded quickly and were also pinned down by the gunfire from the unknown shooter. Collins heroically stepped between his men, two of which were wounded in the exchange, and charged the sniper who shot him to death. Collins made the ultimate sacrifice to save the lives of several citizens including other police offers.
His daughter Vicki Collins continues to work as an investigator for the Wichita Falls District Attorney’s Office. His other daughter Robyn works in healthcare services in the community while son Bob is following in his father’s footsteps as a police officer.
Collins end of watch is listed as Tuesday, July 25, 1989. The man convicted of his murder is still behind bars.
Officer Edwin Rappolee, Jr., has his end of watch listed for Aug. 22, 1968. He and fellow officer Robert Edward Fellows were killed in the same incident when a wall collapsed on them as they were trying to save citizens from a fire in the downtown area.
Special Officer Russell Scott was killed Nov. 28, 1958.
Special Officer Robert Franklin Fennell was stabbed to death on March 20, 1938.
Officer Charles Sleigh Carlisle died in a hail of gunfire on June 29, 1933.
Hugh Fuller was killed in an accident on October 22, 1927.
The two New York officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were evidently victims of this anti-police climate which has become virulent in places such as Ferguson and New York.
Law enforcement officers around the nation from Ferguson, Mo. (St. Louis) to New York City have been the target of anti-police demonstrators. The current mayor of New York City has gone so far as to take the side of the protestors against his own police department. They have responded by turning their backs toward him whenever he enters a room to give a speech. Their rationale is that Mayor Bill de Blasio has turned his back on them. One angry New Yorker went so far as to accuse DeBlasio of having blood on his hands.
Some have criticized DeBlasio for contributing to the hostile climate toward police in which we now find outselves. The New York mayor reportedly has even advised his own son to be scared of the people in blue.
The good news for Wichita Falls law enforcement is that Mayor Glen Barham is a former police officer and is familiar with the problems the people in blue encounter.
Hopefully people in Wichita Falls and the surrounding area will not turn our backs on the law enforcement officers here including WFPD under Chief Manuel Borrego or the deputies under Sheriff David Duke. This is as good a time as any to make a New Year’s Resolution to support our law enforcement officers.
Law enforcement officers have our back. We need to have theirs.
As Governor-Elect and Attorney General Greg Abbott has repeatedly said, Texas is the best place to live. Texans generally support their law enforcement officers.