Law Enforcement Memorial
To lose an officer is to lose a hero.
Law enforcement officers dedicate not only their careers, but their entire lives to bringing peace and justice to our society - a blessing that can never be repaid. It is a particularly inexplicable loss when an officer is killed in the line of duty.
The Tarrant County Law Enforcement Memorial remembers these officers, their stories and their service.
Deputy Constable Mark Diebold
End of Watch: September 7, 2017
Deputy Constable Mark Diebold served in Constable Precinct 5 for 9 years. Prior to working in the Constable’s Office, he served in the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department from 1994-2008.
Constable Diebold was well-known for helping deliver a baby on the side of the road. In July of 2016, he pulled over a Jeep for speeding. When he approached, the driver of the vehicle, Caleb Hall stated that his wife, Destiny was having a baby and they were speeding to get to the hospital. Constable Diebold escorted the couple for a few miles until the Jeep pulled over to the side of the road. Constable Diebold called for an ambulance, which did not arrive in time. Constable Diebold and Caleb Hall delivered the healthy baby girl. Constable Diebold remained close with the Hall family, and attended the little girl’s first birthday celebration to have a tea party with her.
On Thursday, September 7, 2017, Constable Diebold was participating in tactical team qualifications. He was finishing qualifications when he suffered a heart attack and died. Constable Diebold was known as a good friend and dedicated officer, and was described as a friendly giant by Justice of Peace Sergio De Leon.
Constable Diebold was 48 years old and survived by his wife, Jennifer and three daughters, Trinity, Courtney, and Victoria.
Lieutenant George Maurice Hendrix, Jr.
End of Watch: September 17, 1997
Before working in Tarrant County, Lieutenant Hendrix served active duty in the United States Army. He also worked as a patrol officer at the Euless Police Department and Shreveport Police Department. Lieutenant Hendrix started his career with the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office in 1991 as a Detention Officer, and then worked his way up to Lieutenant of the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Training Academy. At the time of his death, he was a Colonel in the United States Army Reserve.
On September 17, 1997, Lieutenant Hendrix and Deputy Sheriff Thomas Jay Smith were participating in a helicopter surveillance flight in an attempt to find stolen motor vehicles. During take-off, the helicopter crashed. Bystanders pulled Lieutenant Hendrix and Deputy Smith from the wreckage and attempted CPR, but were unable to save them due to extensive spinal, head, and internal injuries.
Lieutenant Hendrix was 51 years old and was survived by his wife, Marsha and son, Mark.
Deputy Sheriff Thomas Jay “T.J.” Smith
End of Watch: September 17, 1997
Deputy Smith had worked for the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office for 12 years. Before the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Smith worked for five years as a Law Enforcement Specialist in the United States Air Force, as well as several months at the River Oaks Police Department. While at the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office, he received many letters of commendation while working in the Warrants Division and Criminal Investigations Division.
On September 17, 1997, Deputy Smith and Lieutenant Maurice Hendrix were participating in a helicopter surveillance flight in an attempt to find stolen motor vehicles. During take-off, the helicopter crashed. Bystanders pulled Deputy Smith and Lieutenant Hendrix from the wreckage and attempted CPR, but were unable to save them due to extensive spinal, head, and internal injuries.
Deputy Smith was 45 years old, and was survived by his wife Kathy and two children, Jennifer and Lonnie Ray.
Deputy Sheriff Frank D. Howell
End of Watch: November 3, 1986
Deputy Sheriff Frank D. Howell was an active member in the law enforcement community for many years. He started his career at the age of 17 working as a police dispatcher for the City of Lake Worth. During his career, Deputy Howell also worked as a police officer for Watauga, Richland Hills, Forest Hill, and Benbrook. He also served as a Municipal Judge in Saginaw. On November 3, 1986, Deputy Howell noticed a suspicious vehicle sitting behind the Veterans of Foreign Wars building at 400 W. Felix in Fort Worth. Deputy Howell got out of his car and approached the vehicle. While he was questioning the occupants of the car, one of the suspects began to resist arrest and gained control of Deputy Howell’s service weapon. The suspect shot and killed Deputy Howell as he was attempting to call for backup. He was 38 years old.
This murder resulted in one of the largest and longest manhunts that Tarrant County has ever conducted. The suspect fled to Mexico immediately after the murder of Deputy Howell but was captured ten years later and identified as Enrique “Ricky” Moreno Casas. The Mexican government refused to extradite Casas to the United States since Texas was seeking the death penalty. He was convicted in a Mexican court and sentenced to 40 years in a Mexican prison. Deputy Howell was survived by his wife, Penny and three children, James David, Jason, and Jennifer.