The city's Police Department and Fire Department comprise the Southlake Departments of Public Safety and both share a high regard for traditions, particularly ones that honor the fallen.
The Southlake Police and Fire Honor Guards were formed to continue this rich tradition of honoring fellow police officers and firefighters who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
In the unfortunate death of a police officer or firefighter in the line of duty, the Honor Guard will perform the following services, with the permission of the officer's or firefighter's family:
Begins a rotation of casket watch to ensure an Honor Guard member remains with the fallen officer or firefighter,
Serve as pallbearers and conducts a flag folding ceremony with a flag presentation to the family.
At the end of the service, a "Last Call" is performed over the radio. This involves a dispatcher calling out a last call of the fallen officer's or firefighter's radio call sign several times, with a pause in between, to signify no response from the fallen member. The dispatcher then calls out the fallen officer's or firefighter's end of watch over the radio with the date and time.
In the fire service, the "Last Call" is typically followed by an Honor Guard member ringing a fire bell with three successions of three rings each.
In the police service, the "Last Call" may be followed by a 21-gun salute.
From the service, the fallen officer or firefighter is escorted by police motorcycles and an entourage of police units and fire apparatus to the burial site. Fallen firefighters are often carried on a bunted fire engine to their final resting place.
At the end of the gravesite service, it is customary for the hymn, "Amazing Grace", to be played by either a trumpeter or bagpiper and the Honor Guard drums may also accompany these instruments as part of the service.
Another way in which police officers and firefighters honor their fallen is to wear black mourning bands over their badges to honor those who have died in the line of duty. These mourning badges are customarily authorized to be worn from the day of the fallen officer's or firefighter's death until the end of the day the officer or firefighter is laid to rest. Police Officers also wear mourning badges during National Police Week, which occurs annually in May, to honor the sacrifices of fallen Police Officers across the country.
To learn more about these traditions and for ideas on how to honor fallen police officers and firefighters, visit the following links: