Former HPD Detective Eva Jane Bacher, the Department’s first-ever policewoman and proven role model for her successors over the past 100 years, will be specially memorialized at her gravesite on Sept. 12.
The Houston Police Retired Officers Association (HPROA) will conduct a ceremony at 10 a.m. that day in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery, where Detective Bacher was laid to rest in 1961. She was 84.
In the opinion of the HPROA Bacher deserves significant recognition on the day known as National Policewoman Day.
Bacher’s headstone will be altered to include a plaque like that on the headstone of most deceased retired HPD officers. The plaque depicts an HPD badge. At the top of the badge it reads, “Served with honor.” At the bottom of the plaque it reads, “Remembered with Pride.”
Retired HPD Sgt. M. D. Beale, a member of the vaunted Park Place Rangers, led the crusade to get the plaque embedded in the headstone. Speaking like a typical sergeant, Beale told the Badge & Gun, “I did it because I think it oughta happen.”
A detailed account of Bacher’s career is reprinted in this edition.
A Houston mayor fired her “for the good of the service,” as mayors of that earlier era had the right to do. The man in the Big Chair also disbanded the mounted officer unit and sold all the horses, thinking that the Department was better off without women officers and horses.
The ceremony at the gravesite may include a list of dignitaries that was not confirmed before deadline. Mayor Sylvester Turner was invited along with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Beale also said a representative of the National Association of Women Law Enforcement (NAWLEE) and Executives from NAWLEE would be present.
The HPOU, of course, will turn out in full force, led by 3rd Vice President Tim Whitaker.
Beale also specially recognized the work and cooperation of Forest Park officials.
“Forest Park Lawndale has really stepped up to help us,” he explained. “They will take the headstone up out of the ground and have the plaque installed after they have cleaned and polished it.
“They have a special rack they can place the stone on that will tilt the stone so that it can be more easily viewed, then they will replace it back flush with the ground afterwards.
“They told me they would do this at their expense.”
Beale recognized Forest Park general manager Anthony Crespo for taking care of details such as tents and bottled water for the expected attendees for the event.
We must say that Eva Jane rests in peace with good company, for at least 22 HPD officers of the 120 who have died in the line of duty for the citizens of Houston are buried in Forest Park Lawndale.
And they are:
- John Clark Etheridge
- Carl Greene
- Paul Whitlock
- Oscar Hope
- F. Thomas
- Rempsey Sullavan
- Smith A. Kent
- Frank Kellogg
- Noel Miller
- Claude Branon
- Gonzalo Gonzalez
- James Walker
- Floyd Deloach
- Louis Kuba
- David Herta
- Richard Calhoun
- Jose Zamarron
- William Deleon
- Daryl Shirley
- D. Harris
- James B. Irby