HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — Friday was a solemn night in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas as dozens remembered an officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty.
Officer Travis Wallace, who was shot last Thursday trying to stop a suspect, was honored with a “Sea of Blue.”
Dozens of officers and community members paid their respects.
“Job well done,” said Helena West Helena Chief James Smith. “You have a bigger calling. God asked you to come home. Hhe needed you as a soldier. I’m very proud of my brother.”
Officer Wallace rested in the middle of the police department for all to see, all to honor, and all to mourn.
The 41-year-old is remembered as motivated, a man who wanted to become chief one day.
“The only thing that will help me get through this is the love and support that the community has given us, our department embracing each other,” said Chief Smith.
The fire department displayed a huge flag to honor Officer Wallace. There was also a patrol car decorated with cards, pictures and bows.
Officers from across Arkansas and Tennessee showed their support.
“The love and the support, the togetherness of this fraternity of brothers and sisters in blue is outstanding today,” said Chief Smith.
Dozens of community members paid respects as well by driving by the police station to offer condolences.
“I feel obligated to be here, to show my support not only to my community but to this family for an officer who has given his life trying to make it better in the community I reside in,” said Helena-West Helena resident Dorothy Spencer.
Officer Wallace leaves behind a 9-year-old son. That son rode with the chief as officers surrounded the city with blue lights.
The chief vowed to be there for the son and Wallace’s family.
“I told him I got you,” said the chief. “I just want him to know his family, his friends, and loved ones are supported and we are going to take this situation and make something great out of it.”
A fellow officer named Kristy Greene said this loss was also very personal for her.
“Once I got there and realized what actually happened, yeah it was hard to deal with,” said Greene. “I just felt surreal. It was hard to stay focused but we had a job to do even at that time.”
Greene said it still feels surreal for her, especially since she just found out about her family ties to Officer Wallace.
“It’s a shocking thing to realize on an occasion like this that you are related to your coworker but it’s your actual cousin,” said Officer Greene.
Greene was part of the “Sea of Blue” which drove throughout Helena-West Helena.
The patrol cars briefly stopped where Officer Wallace was shot in the line of duty off U.S 49.
“He was all in every time,” said Officer Greene. “Not one time today or tomorrow - every time he was always all in.”
Officer Wallace was all in at work but also with his family. He shared a close relationship with his son 9-year-old son Travis Jr.
“There will probably be some rough times for him but he has family, immediate family and he has his police family. We will be there to support him and help him get through it,” said Officer Greene.
Greene said the loud sirens reminded her of Officer Wallace. A brave officer. Someone who wanted to become chief. Someone gone but never forgotten.
“I love him,” said Greene. “I love him as family and I love him as a brother in blue and I hate to see that he went in a tragic way but he’s in a better place.”
The funeral service will take place on Saturday at 1 p.m.
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