ODESSA, TX (KWES) - They put their lives on the line every day, but this memorial not only honors local officers, but officers around the state of Texas.
"Police officers give more than just speeding tickets. They give their lives," said Krystal Cole.
A yellow rose to represent a fallen law enforcement officer was put on a wreath by family members at the Sunset Memorial Thursday morning.
"Here at this cemetery, we have seven officers that are buried here," said Corporal Steve LeSueur of the Odessa Police Department.
The Odessa Police Department, Ector County Sheriff's Office, Midland Police Department, Lubbock Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Midland County Sheriff's Office paid respects to honor fellow officers who have died in the line of duty last year.
"After I became sheriff, we had more and more. There's an awful lot of law enforcement officers around this country where you always think about, 'Well, that just happened somewhere else.' Well, it happens here now. It's been happening," said Sheriff Mark Donaldson of the Ector County Sheriff's Office. "With the tragic events in 2007 and 2010, I had two of my deputies shot with potential five to ten other ones being injured."
The Odessa Police Department said 13 law enforcement officers were killed just in the state of Texas last year. "It's not necessarily the number of officers that are dying. It's the way they're dying," said LeSueur.
He said there is a 70% increase in gunfire related deaths from 2015 to 2016. The number of officers who are ambushed and attacked continues to grow.
Krystal Cole's father was an officer at the Odessa Police Department before he passed away in 1988.
"I know it was important for him to serve the community that he lived in," said Cole. "I know he wanted to make the place he lived in a safer community for his family."
She said what people need to see are not just the badge, but heroes who risk their lives to protect and serve.
"Not everybody chooses to risk their lives everyday by protecting others and they're willing to lay their down their lives for the perfect strangers if the job calls for it."
The Odessa Police Department encourages the public to put a blue light bulb on their front porch to honor all the fallen officers for National Police Memorial Week.