Our choice for this year's Law Enforcement Award, Steven Bazany, Patrolman SAPD, was the cover of Saturday's Metro...http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA050308.METRO1BPoliceBikeMemorial.EN.388c032.html
Web Posted: 05/02/2008 11:13 PM CDT
Local police officers and friends rode bicycles across the state this week to honor Texas' 22 officers killed in the line of duty last year.
“We want each family to know that their loved ones may be lost but they will never be forgotten, and their blue family will always be there,” said San Antonio Police Department Chaplain Paul Worley.
On Friday, they stopped in San Antonio to present the widow of San Antonio Police Officer Mario Moreno with a wreath and also raise a flag in his honor at the SAPD's training academy officer memorial. The cyclists will complete their 1,800-mile trek in Austin today.
“I worked with Mario; he was an amazing officer,” said Officer Steven Bazany, who along with SAPD officers Henry Quiroga and Chris Herron participated in the ride.
“I wanted to do this to honor Mario and recognize the others who gave their lives,” said Bazany, who heads SAPD's bicycle division.
Texas lost a record number of officers in the line of duty in 2007, when the state also led the nation in officer deaths. Nationwide, 2007 was one of the deadliest years for officers across the country since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. A report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Concerns of Police Survivors counted 186 officer deaths, up from 145 in 2006.
Moreno was the first SAPD officer killed by gunfire since 2001. The 11-year SAPD veteran was gunned down on Sept. 21 at the Villas of St. Moritz in the 7200 block of Lamb Road on the city's Northwest Side.
Bazany, who has conducted a memorial ride to Austin each year, decided to expand his trek after the state saw a record number of deaths. He spent long hours researching each officer and the circumstances of their deaths.
“I think I really got to know a lot about these officers,” he said. “It takes the trip and makes it more personal.”
While on the road the group unexpectedly learned of a tragedy involving a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper. While at their stop in Texarkana, the group heard that Trooper Scott Burns of Linden was shot four times during a traffic stop.
The cyclists stopped by his DPS office Wednesday. They will present his family with a wreath during next year's ride.
Also Friday, city officials and San Antonio Police Officers Association members broke ground on a city park on Ingram Road named in honor of SAPD Officer John Wheeler. In October 2005, a drunken driver's vehicle crashed into Wheeler's patrol car, killing him and the other driver.