APD honors 3 officers killed in the line of duty

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by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist ERIN COKER

kvue.com

Posted on March 18, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 18 at 6:33 PM

AUSTIN -- The Austin Police Officer Memorial Project puts up granite markers in honor of every fallen officer.

In the shadow of Austin Police Department headquarters, three new monuments now stand. 

“These officers will live forever in the hearts of this community,” said Mayor Lee Leffingwell.

“Although you may go down in the line of duty, although you may fall in the line of duty, you're sacrifice will never be forgotten,” said Police Chief Art Acevedo.

In 1875, 35-year-old Cornelious Fahey was shot and killed on Congress Avenue. He was the first APD officer to die in the line of duty.

Sgt. Earl Hall was 50 when he suffered a fatal heart attack after responding to a burglary call. He died in 2002.

And Officer Lee Craig Smith was killed in 1979. A defective part caused him to crash his motorcycle while on duty. He died from his injuries.

“He used to call me birdbrain, because my name is Robin,” laughed his sister Robin Ragin.

Ragin says the memories of her big brother keep him alive not just for her, but also for his daughter Olivia Andrade, who was less than a year old when he died.

“It feels like an honor to me to be able to see that even though he died so many years ago they still represent him and respect him you know, it's a great honor,” Andrade said.

For Andrade, her father lives on through the grandchildren he'll never meet.

“My oldest one is named after him, his name is Vance Craig,” Andrade said. “So we try to keep his name going so they will remember him as well.”

While honoring the fallen, Acevedo also delivered a powerful message to those serving under his command.

“Ask yourself are you serving in a manner in a fashion and in a method that honors the sacrifices of these families and the men behind you, or are you serving in a manner that taints their sacrifice?” Acevedo said.

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