Paris Police Detective Chris Widner, who passed away in the line of duty on August 22, 2021, was honored Sunday, April 30, in a Roll Call of Fallen Officers Ceremony at the Texas Peace Officer Memorial Monument on the Texas State Capital grounds in Austin.
“It’s been over a year and a half since we lost Chris; seeing his name on that wall was surreal, but his legacy is deserving of the honor.” Paris Police Detective Forrest Bigler said. Bigler and Paris Police Captain Doug Thompson attended the memorial ceremony serving as escort officers for Widner’s family. “Detective Widner was a great friend of mine and an exceptional public servant; I was honored to participate in this tribute to him and other fallen law enforcement officers,” Thompson said.
Paris Police Chief Richard Salter also attended the event representing the Command Staff of the Police Department. “In the short time I knew Chris, I quickly learned he was a caring and compassionate man of great character,” Salter said. “He was well-liked by his co-workers and throughout the Lamar County Community; his passing was a great loss. It was our honor and privilege to sponsor the attendance of Chris’ wife Michelle, son Cameron and his parents Emanuel and Laura Widner.”
The ceremony began with a memorial procession, including Honor Guards representing several Texas law enforcement agencies. Governor Greg Abbott delivered the keynote address, after which he spoke individually with each fallen officers’ family members and presented them with a Medal of Valor. The ceremony recognized the sixty-seven officer names recently added to the memorial.
Chief Salter, Captain Thompson and Detective Bigler brought home challenge tokens commemorating the event and several crayon rubbings from Widner’s name engraved on the black granite walls to share with others in the Police Department.
The TPOM wall is located on the Texas State Capital grounds in Austin near the intersection of East 14th and Brazos Streets. The memorial was dedicated in 1999 and contains the names of over 2,000 officers lost in the line of duty.
Top: Michelle and Cameron Widner visit with Texas Governor Greg Abbott at the TPOM ceremony as parents Emanuel and Laura Widner exit the presentation area. Bottom: Det. Bigler (L) and Capt. Thompson complete a rubbing of Det. Widner's name from the TPOM wall.