Slain trooper's wife takes a stand for law enforcement officers

On February 12, (standing, left to right) Groesbeck Police Chief Chris Henson and Mexia Police Chief Brian Bell, (sitting, left to right) Kasey Allen, Governor Greg Abbott and Brody Burks met at the Governor's Mansion to discuss future legislature that will support law enforcement statewide.
Courtesy photo

Kasey Allen has been working hard to improve safety for law enforcement agencies statewide since her husband, DPS Trooper Damon Allen, was killed in the line of duty on Thanksgiving day, November 23, 2017. Allen, along with Mexia Police Chief Brian Bell, Groesbeck Police Chief Chris Henson and McLennan County’s Assistant District Attorney Brody Burks traveled to the Governor’s Mansion on February 12 for a meeting with Governor Abbott to discuss making changes to legislation that could benefit law enforcement officers.

After Trooper Allen was killed, Kasey looked into the case and found that the man charged with capital murder of her husband, Dabrett Black, had been indicted by a grand jury a month prior for aggravated assault against a public servant, and records show other instances in past years including evading arrest after hitting a police cruiser and another assault on a public servant.

“I happened to meet the widow of Trooper Scott Burns that was killed and thought, well I'm going to look into his case too and see what happened to him,” Allen said. “It was a very similar story. It was a repeat offender that should not have been out. I got a list of all the troopers that had been killed in the state of Texas since 1939 and started looking back through them and was finding repeatedly, this is the story. So something needed to be done.”

With the help of Chief Bell, Allen reached out to Brody Burk for more information about navigating the contours of law, as he had known Damon and worked as a District Attorney in Mexia for several years before moving on to McLennan County. Allen felt encouraged to pursue the venture after speaking with Governor Abbott personally.

“He met with me before the funeral privately and said they were writing legislation that basically says if you kill a cop, you're going to prison. He told me to call in a couple weeks or when I was ready and make an appointment with him because they would love for me to help with it.”

Governor Abbott made good on his invitation for Allen to get involved in the conversation about changing legislature, and she along with Chief Bell, Chief Henson and DA Brody Burks sat down with Abbott, his chief counsel and policy department at the Governor’s Mansion in Austin.

“The governor and his staff are excited about our particular coalition being that we have a victim, law enforcement officers and a prosecutor between the four of us,” said Chief Bell. “Kasey having been married to Damon has an intimate knowledge of law enforcement. You get any two cops in a room and they're going to have different experiences to bring to the table. Brody being a prosecutor, when law enforcement is finished, they pick it up from there. I think the governor and his staff realized that we have some unique perspectives and that we're all on the same page.”

Opportunities to meet with the Governor himself are rare, as suggesting changes to legislature normally takes several steps before receiving attention and acted upon, Chief Henson explained. One would likely need to reach out to their local senator or congressman by email, find a reputable group or organization to support the idea who would likely have their own changes or additions to the plan, and by the time it reached the Governor (if at all), would likely be quite different from the original version, for better or for worse.

 

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