AUSTIN (KXAN) - The decision by Police Chief Art Acevedo to declare that Lt. Clay Crabb died in the line of duty when his city-owned car crashed Wednesday morning came as a relief to organizations supporting Austin police officers.
"The officer obviously was in a city car, in uniform, prepared and actually was duty-bound to take care of anything that came up," Wayne Vincent, president of Austin Police Association. "So that's on duty."
The ruling means Crabb's wife and children can receive $250,000 from the state government and a more generous benefit package from the federal government. Crabb's three children would also have their education at a Texas state university paid for.
What's more, under the Austin Police Association's new agreement with the city that went into effect Oct 1st, anytime an active duty officer dies, member officers must contribute half their monthly dues (for one month) to a fund for the surviving family.
"This is a way for officers to contribute something right away," Vincent said. He expects this will mean about $25-30,000 will be directed to Lt Crabb's wife and children.
The city is expected to cover the costs of the funeral, scheduled for Monday morning.
The Austin Police Spouses Association, a registered charity since 2009 also stands willing to help Crabb's family once the initial shock of Wednesday's events subside.
"We're waiting, giving them some time and respect," said Valerie Jaime of the association. "Then whatever they need, just depends on the individual family. Each family is different."
The group can also offer support in the form of groceries, babysitting and housecleaning and other daily tasks that move to the back burner in a critical life event like the death of a family member.
"You just move on. It's another day," said Jaime. "First we get through the funeral, we get through the anniversaries, we get through the holidays and then, you wait. You just keep going."
Funeral information for Lt. Crabb
- Visitation: Sunday 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Cook Walden-Forest Oaks, 6300 West William Cannon
- Funeral: Monday 10 a.m. at Bannockburn Baptist Church, 7100 Brodie Lane
- Burial immediately following services at Forest Oaks Cemetery
Donations can also be made at the 100 Club and austincopsforcharities.org
Meantime, the national Officer Down Memorial Page is gathering reflections on Lt Crabb. One writer offered this note and poem of comfort:
"My deepest condolences to the Crabb family and Austin Pd., (sic) for a loss so great words can not describe. May you find some comfort in time and prayer":
But not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life has been full, I've savoured much.
Good friends, good times, a loved ones touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all to brief
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief,
Lift up you hearts and share with me,
God wanted me now,
He set me free. - (author unknown)
Rest in Peace -
Lt. Joe Belmares
Montgomery Police Dept.
October 16, 2013
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