Patrol officer honors fallen DPD officers with unique book

A long time Dallas patrol officer and son of an East Texas sheriff wants people to remember and honor the lives of every DPD officer killed in the line of duty.

Steve Elwonger is honoring the 84 fallen Dallas officers through a book called ‘In the Line of Duty,’ first published in 1991.

The book pictures and chronicles each of the Dallas officers killed in the line of duty dating back to 1892. Elwonger wanted to share the stories behind the names of the fallen officers. He says the third edition of the book was the most daunting. 

On July 7 during a peaceful evening Dallas protest, sniper Micah Xavier Johnson assassinated five police officers and wounded more than a half dozen others. Four were from DPD and one from DART — Officer Brent Thompson is also included in the book.

Johnson was killed with explosives delivered by a robot, bringing an end to one of the darkest days in Dallas since the Kennedy assassination.

“I mean, I'm still working patrol,” Elowonger said. “So you think of the time that I have out here, you know. It could have been me down there."

What followed July 7 was a powerful outpouring of public support in front of Dallas Police Headquarters. Elwonger says he felt compelled to update the book with the current count.

The author is giving 100 percent of the proceeds to the Assist the Officer Foundation to help the families. He says he doesn't do it for money or recognition — he does it for honor and history. 

“Not that any of these officers wanted to die for the citizens of Dallas, but unfortunately they did.  They were there to serve,” Elwonger said.

The stories of the officers, Elwonger says, are insightful, informative and bizarre.

"One that was killed on his motorcycle had a number 13 on the tank,” he explained. And then four months later, another officer was killed on his motorcycle, had number 21 on the tank. Well, the later officer, when he died, there was a fire that started. And the heat from the blaze melted the paint off of the number 21 tank and revealed the original paint job — number 13.”

Elwonger says he's thankful and grateful his book helps keep the memories of the fallen alive.

The message of the book is simple.

"Just never to forget,” Elwonger said. “Knowing that we are out there. That we are the last line."

Elwonger will be at the Northpark mall Friday morning from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The book sells for $20. He will autograph books, take pictures and answer questions. All of the proceeds go to Assist the Officer Foundation.

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