Today was surreal here in Austin––in a very meaningful way. In addition to the thousands of officers and others who attended Senior Police Officer Jaime Padron's funeral, MANY thousands of people from every walk of life lined IH-35 to pay their respects as the funeral procession passed by. For miles up and down the highway from North Austin to South, both sides of the road were lined with cars, trucks, tow trucks, delivery trucks and crowds of people. For as far as the eye could see and then some. I saw parents with small kids, truck drivers, people in business suits, young, old, and every race. In addition to so many APD motorcycles and cars in the procession, there were Travis County Sheriff's Deputies, DPS Officers, EMS, Round Rock, San Marcos, Georgetown and even officers from as far away as Lubbock, Waco, Dallas, and Corpus Christi. It was an amazing site to see, and I was filled with respect for those of you who do an important and often dangerous job. The procession went on for what seemed like an hour or more; many of the officers driving by waived solemnly, nodded, or said thank you to the public who had stopped whatever they were doing to show their support. Mile after mile of road lined with people who silently and collectively seemed to be saying "Thank you."
Unfortunately most law enforcement seems to interact with people on a daily basis who have or are suspected of having broken the law and may not be too glad to see you.
But rest assured, there are SO many people who appreciate you every day.
It was a very emotional service. It was an honor to have been there.
I was able to stand with my unit, the crew of AFD station 18, and many civilians, on the overpass at St. John's and I 35, and salute officer Padron's hearse, as it rolled by. Although I never met the man, I had tears in my eyes as the procession passed.
The outpouring of support, from this community, was amazing. Thanks to all who took time, from their day, to honor this fallen officer.