Blue and red lights will flash across Texas Friday morning in honor of a Harris County sheriff’s deputy who was killed last week.
Gov. Greg Abbott called on law enforcement officers to turn on their lights for one minute starting at 11 a.m. in honor of Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth.
Goforth, 47, was killed on Aug. 28 while he was stopped for gas in the Houston suburb of Cypress.
His funeral in Houston is to start at 11 a.m.
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Abbott also ordered Texas flags to be flown at half-staff.
“As Texas continues to mourn the senseless loss of Harris County Sheriff Deputy Darren Goforth, I have issued a statewide call to stand with law enforcement in Texas. Respect and pride in our law enforcement must be restored in this state and nation,” Abbott wrote in a letter to Commander Jose Ortiz of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
But a mental warning light went off about the plan itself: Won’t motorists who see flashing lights think they are getting pulled over by officers?
Abbott spokesman John Wittman emailed this reply: “Obviously safety comes first.”
Several police departments in North Texas indicated Thursday that their officers would participate but said only patrol officers who are not moving will flash their lights.
“Officers have been given instructions if they wish to participate, one of which is they must be stationary while lights are on,” officer Tamara Pena, a Fort Worth police spokeswoman, wrote in an email.
Fort Worth police also called on civilians to turn on their headlights.
MedStar, although not a law enforcement agency, will participate by having all vehicles not on assignment turn their emergency lights on. They will also observe one minute of radio silence, MedStar spokesman Matt Zavadsky said.
Zavadsky said that at 10:50 a.m., ambulance drivers not on call will get an alert to pull over. At 11 a.m., they will flash their lights and observe a minute of silence.
“In our world and in the police department world, it is a huge deal — there is constant radio everything,” Zavadsky said.
Arlington officers have been authorized to participate but were still working out the “exact plan” Thursday night, said Lt. Chris Cook, an Arlington police spokesman.
Hurst police issued a statement that not only would patrol officers flash their lights, but before that from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., “Back the Blue” supporters will hand out blue ribbons on the north side of the new Hurst Criminal Justice Center, 825 Thousand Oaks Drive.