Decoration for fallen HPD officer's memorial missing; officers want answers
HOUSTON – Officers noticed memorial decorations were missing Thursday and it didn't take them long to fix the problem. The officers want to make sure the community knows that officer Richard Martin may be gone, but he'll never be forgotten.
A memorial was placed at the exact intersection where Martin was killed in the line of duty, protecting the community by trying to bring an end to a high-speed chase.
And that's where the donations remained for a year and half, until they were taken Thursday.
"This has become a very sacred location for the family and our officers to come visit and pay respects to Richard Martin," Houston Police Officer Joe Gamaldi said.
"I can’t imagine how anybody would think that it was OK to remove these items, but if it was done on purpose, and someone stole them, then it's truly deplorable that someone would come out here and take memorial items from a fallen officer and his family," Gamaldi said.
Some of those decorations are irreplaceable.
"Family members left some little trinkets that they remembered him by," Gamaldi said.
But the ones that could be restored were replaced and the memorial site is getting a complete makeover.
Officers want "to keep this space important like it's meant to be," Gamaldi said.
A newly framed picture, signs, wreaths and flowers serve as everyday reminders of the officer who gave his life to protect others.
"We are a family and they are family. We want them to know and other officers to know that he's not forgotten. He's gone, but he's not forgotten," said Jennifer Bates, a member of Houston law-enforcement officers' family-support unit.
If you have any information on where these decorations might be, you're asked to call the Houston Police Department Office.