AUSTIN – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced a major initiative today to better protect police and support the families of Texas first responders. Speaking at a news conference with Senator Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, and several Texas law enforcement officials, the Lt. Governor said:
“We want Texas’ bravest men and women to know when they put on their uniform and badge each day to protect us, we will have their back should they encounter tragedy before returning home,” said Patrick. “This initiative, modeled after legislation previously passed for combat veterans killed in the line-of-duty, will exempt surviving spouses of fallen officers from having to pay property taxes on their homes, even if the home no longer carries a mortgage. This will help ensure surviving spouses will never be taxed out of their homestead.”
Lt. Gov. Patrick has made the safety of police officers across the state a top priority, including helping provide police with protective vests capable of stopping high-caliber bullets. Some of the officers killed in the deadly Dallas sniper ambush earlier this year had bullet-proof vests which were unable to stop the high-caliber rounds.
Last month, Senator Eltife created a public-private partnership with local businesses and the City of Tyler to purchase the protective vests for local officers there.
“These vests are a critical priority for our local police, and we will always take that extra step where public safety is concerned,” Eltife said. “That’s why I joined hands with the Mayor and business leaders in my local community to split the cost and provide these safer bullet-proof vests for our officers.”
In honor of all law enforcement killed in the line-of-duty, Lt. Gov. Patrick has indicated that July 7, the day of that deadly attack, will be commemorated yearly on the state calendar so families know this tragedy will never be forgotten.
The following law enforcement representatives joined the Lt. Governor for today’s news conference:
· Charley Wilkison, executive director, Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas (CLEAT)
· Ray Hunt, president, Houston Police Officers Union (HPOU)
· Kevin Lawrence, executive director, Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA)
· Ashlee Hardy, president, Metroplex Texas Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.)
· Lt. Jimmy Jackson, Texas DPS Officers Association (Texas DPOA)
· Mike Mata, 3rd vice president, Dallas Police Association
· James Parnell, secretary/treasurer, Dallas Police Association
· Sheriff A. J. Louderback, former president, Sheriff’s Association of Texas