In the fall of 1994, a discussion was initiated in the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce Crime Awareness Committee, chaired by Larry Lipton, about creating an event for the public to meet and learn more about law enforcement and the local agencies serving the 1960 area.
Spring ISD Chief of Police Alan Bragg informed the committee that a similar concept was ongoing in the Spring Independent School District for the students at elementary schools coordinated by Houston Police Department officer Tim Galligan. Chief Bragg volunteered to chair the event and coordinate the first event for the public with assistance from Officer Tim Galligan, Harris Co. Pct.#4 Captain John McClure, and Larry Lipton.
In the spring of 1995 the coordination of 15 area law enforcement agencies began and the first event was held on the parking lot of Grundy’s Club & Restaurant on Kuykendahl Rd. (now Texas Tumbleweed and through the generosity and support of local real estate businessman Fred Grundemeyer) on Saturday, May 20th and was a tremendous success.
The vehicles and displays filled up the parking lot and the indoor space of the building. The remainder of the parking lot was full the rest of the day with visitors to the event. It became clear we had outgrown our event space the first year.
In 1996, Champions Village Shopping Center on FM 1960 agreed to host the event and offered additional parking lot areas, parking for event visitors and some vacant retail space for our heat/light sensitive indoor exhibits.
On Saturday, May 11th, approximately 26 agencies coordinated their displays, exhibits and officers for our second annual event and again it was another success but again we had outgrown the space allocated for the event.
In 1997, Willowbrook Mall, 249 & FM 1960, agreed to host and co-sponsor the event on the west parking lot of their mall complex. About that same time a decision was made to more closely tie the event to the start of National Police Week activities (May 15th each year) and show honor and remembrance to the men and women in law enforcement who paid the ultimate price and lost their life in the line of duty the previous year. The event was formerly named "Salute To Law Enforcement".
Since 1997 the event has been held at Willowbrook Mall on the Saturday in May before National Police Week and the event has grown each year and now includes helicopter air support static displays from the various law enforcement agencies and the military.
During the 2002 event, approximately 80 agencies, including city, county state, federal, school district, colleges, universities, railroad police, metro police, participated in the event with over 120 displays and exhibits and approximately 225 officers staffing the event.
In 2003 the event drew 86 agencies and 125 exhibits with agencies participating from the entire Houston metro area and as far away as Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. A permanent website was created to promote the event, show photos of previous years, and to make appropriate forms and information available to agencies, organizations and exhibitors. www.SaluteToLawEnforcement.org
In February of 2004, the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce announced the creation of the "Chief Alan Bragg Salute To Law Enforcement Criminal Justice Scholarship". This $1,000 scholarship will be given to a deserving senior who wishes to pursue a criminal justice career and will be awarded during the opening ceremonies each year on the stage.
The event is not only dependent on the many agencies and men and women in law enforcement, but also on the generous sponsors who provide services and monetary support for "Salute To Law Enforcement"
Some of these sponsors included Sweet Tomatoes, Culligan Water, Coca-Cola, Waste Management, Willowbrook Mall, HP/Compaq Computer, Houston Chronicle, Tents of the Southwest, Safety Lights, A.J. Foyt Cycles, Ford Motor Co., Kwik-Kopy #117
Willowbrook Mall estimates that between 10,000 and 15,000 persons go through the exhibits and mall area during the 4 hour (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.) event.
In 2004 we continued our tradition of including a military representation at the opening ceremony to show our thanks to the men and women serving in the armed forces during the Iraq War and other recent world conflicts.
A commemorative 10th anniversary pin was created and was distributed to all officers and volunteers who participated in the 2004 Event.
The 2004 event was "A Day For Ducks"!! Torrential rains, high wind and tornados in the area forced the cancellation of many of the outdoor activities and exhibits. Many outdoor exhibitors moved indoors and most of the agencies with indoor exhibits arrived and continued as scheduled.
The first annual "Salute To Law Enforcement Criminal Justice Scholarship" was presented to Christine Roberts and she plans to attend Baylor University in the fall.
The names of all law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in the Houston metro area since 1995 were read aloud by members of the "Concerns of Police Survivors" (COPS) followed by a period of silence and then the singing of "Amazing Grace" by our featured annual soloist, Ms. Carmen Goodwin.
Our 2005 event was attended by over 100 law enforcement agencies and support organizations.
The traffic count from the mall indicated that approximately 37,000 people were at the mall & event when it started at 11 a.m. and approximately 50,000 had been counted at the end of the event at 3 p.m.
Agencies from Tarrant County, Red Oak, Austin, Rockwall, Galveston, Cleveland and a Lieutenant from the University of New Orleans were represented and traveled the greatest distance to attend!
In the spring of 2006 the Cy-Fair Chamber of Commerce joined our efforts to support the event along with the Houston NW Chamber of Commerce!
The event in 2006 was the largest to date with over 100 agencies participating and over 50,000 persons at the mall during the event.
Proclamations from President George Bush, U.S. Congressman Ted Poe and Texas Governor Rick Perry were read at the opening ceremony. The National Anthem was sung by Ms. Megan Bouchan.
The names of the local fallen officers were read by Ed Hill, a member of the Greater Houston Area Concerns of Police Survivors and father of fallen Harris County Sheriffs Department Deputy Barry Hill. This was followed by a stirring rendition of "Amazing Grace" performed by members of the St. Thomas High School Bagpipers & Drum Corp.
The annual "Chief Alan Bragg Salute To Law Enforcement" criminal justice scholarship was awarded to Brandon Cook, a senior in Cy-Fair ISD.
At 12 noon, skydivers dropped into the event unfurling the American flag to help salute the event and show remembrance to our fallen brothers and sisters.
Two officers from the Wichita Falls Police Department were present and traveled the greatest distance to attend this year.
======= 2007 - The Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce "STEPS UP"!! =======
The 2007 "Salute To Law Enforcement" event was the most successful in its 13 year history! With the outstanding leadership and assistance of Chamber President Darcy Mingoia and her staff, business donations increased, including the underwriting of the event by Mr. John Speer of Royce Homes.
This allowed us to pay the expenses of the event, give three (3) criminal justice scholarships to three deserving high school seniors and donate over $8,900 to the Houston Police Department multi-agency storefront which opened in July of 2007!
Over 100 agencies participated in the event on May 5th resulting in over 60 outdoor exhibits and over 75 indoor displays. Approximately 300 officers and volunteers were on site during the 5 hour event to ensure its success.
Ms. Jessica Pace showed her extreme talent with her rendition of the National Anthem. A moment of silence was given for the fallen officers, including the reading of the names of officers from the Houston area who paid the ultimate price by Houston Area Concerns of Police Survivors and followed by "Amazing Grace" performed by the St. Thomas High School Bagpipers and Drum Corp.
Our three Criminal Justice Scholarship winners included Cianne Jimenez, Carl Wunsche High School; Victoria Cordova, Nimitz High School; and David Henning, Cypress Creek High School. All three plan to pursue a Criminal Justice degree and become law enforcement professionals.
The first annual "Fire Truck Pull" sponsored by and benefiting Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run was outstanding!
Approximately 50,000 persons were at the mall during our event and several departments reported good leads with their RECRUITING efforts!!
==================== 2008 ====================
In late February of 2008, I was contacted by representatives of Sprint-Nextel about sponsoring our 2008 event. After two meetings they were on board and helped make our event very successful!! Their support of Public Safety and First Responders with their Direct Connect "Push To Talk" devices and the fast data network made them a perfect match for our event sponsorship! Thank you!
Our event was attended by approximately 40,000 persons at the mall during our event. Highlights of the day included:
A beautiful opening ceremony with the reading of the names of fallen officers;
An outstanding rendition of the Star Spangled Banner sung by our 2008 guest soloist Ms. Monica Bradley;
Presentation of the colors by the Houston Police Department Honor Guard;
Approximately 500 children's parents received DNA kits, photos and fingerprinting from the Child Safety Day sponsored by SPRINT;
Skydivers arrived at noon and 1 p.m. to thrill the outdoor crowd;
The 2nd annual Fire Truck Pull benefiting Special Olympics was again a success and deputies from Harris County Constable Pct. 4 Office (Constable Ron Hickman) won two of the trophies;
The event featured approximately 45 indoor exhibits, 60+ outdoor exhibits, 11 helicopters and over 400 child safety seats were distributed to parents free of charge from State Farm Insurance and the Harris County Sheriff's Department.
RECRUITING continued to be a big activity by the law enforcement agencies represented at the event!
Because of the generous sponsorship of SPRINT and support from MANY MANY local businesses and organizations, we were able to award $5,000 to the 100 Club of Houston and $1,000 to the Houston Area Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) at the July luncheon of the CyFair Houston Chamber of Commerce.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this year a tremendous success!
SPRINT was our anchor corporate sponsor for the largest event in our 15 year history!!
We had 117 agencies and organizations with 98 outdoor exhibits, 55 indoor exhibits and the mall reported over 70,000 people during the day.
Our opening ceremony included the presentation of the colors by the Houston Police Department Honor Guard, the reading of the names of fallen police officers in Texas last year, the recognition of two fallen Houston Fire Department firefighters, Captain James Harlow and Damion Hobbs, on Easter Sunday morning, an event blessing and invocation by Chaplain Richard Turner of Police Chaplain Ministries, the playing of "Amazing Grace" by the St. Thomas Bagpipers and Drum Corp, and an outstanding performance of the National Anthem by Ms. Lauren Perry.
Our annual Salute To Law Enforcement scholarship was awarded to Mr. Ryan Flannelly, a senior student at Klein High School, who has been accepted at Sam Houston State University to pursue a criminal justice career with the goal of becoming an FBI Agent or U.S. Marshal.
Skydivers arrived at noon and 1 p.m. Over 400 officers and volunteers were on site to make the event a tremendous success!
Several agencies conducted successful recruiting efforts with the many people who attended the event. Agencies attending from outside the Houston area this year included Austin Police Department, Dallas Police Department, Texas A&M Police Department-College Station, and Texas A&M Police Department-Kingsville.
Again this year, because of the generous sponsorship of SPRINT and support from MANY local businesses and organizations, we were able to award $3,000 to the 100 Club of Houston and $1,000 to the Houston Area Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) at the July luncheon of the CyFair Houston Chamber of Commerce.
For the third consecutive year, SPRINT sponsored our event!! Thank you!
Our 2010 event began with a parade led by the Little York Fire Department, costumed characters and entertainment provided by “Percussion One” drum line of Lone Star College.
Over 100 agencies and organizations participated in this year’s event sharing their new technology, equipment and crime fighting tools with the thousands in attendance at the 4 hour event.
The Houston Police Department Honor Guard presented the colors and Ms. Lauren Perry sang the National Anthem. Surviving family members of the Houston Concerns of Police Survivors read the names of all the fallen officers from the Houston area who died in the line of duty since 2000.
Police Chaplain Richard Turner offered an event blessing and a moment of silence for the fallen officers and Ms. Perry sang a moving rendition of “Amazing Grace”
Ms. Mary Evans, CyFair Houston Chamber of Commerce, read a proclamation and greeting from Governor Rick Perry to recognize the event and honor the officers.
A new award was initiated in 2010 to recognize “LOCAL HEROES” from area Law Enforcement, Fire, and EMS agencies. Eight awards were given to agencies including: Sgt. John Byrd, Harris Co. Sheriff’s Dept; Donna Douglas, Cypress Creek EMS; Brian McCandless, Humble PD; Michael Tymniak, Lone Star College PD; David Fuente, Spring ISD PD; Special Agent Michael McGregor, FBI; Kim Herring, Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office; and the Northwest Divisional Tactical Unit, Houston PD.
The 2010 “Chief Alan Bragg Salute To Law Enforcement Scholarship” was awarded to Mr. Andre Smith, Aldine High School, who plans to attend Sam Houston State University for a Criminal Justice degree and a pursue a career as a U.S. Marshall or Arson Investigator.
Special thanks to over 100 volunteers from area organizations, area high school Criminal Justice Programs, local businesses and sponsors who helped make this event a great success!
The 20th annual and FINAL event in 2015 was on
Saturday, April 25th, at Sam Houston Race Park