Remembering Officer Ken Copeland

Officer Ken Copeland occupies the center spot in an altar in the San Marcos home of former police officer Carl Deal. To the left is Officer Rudy Meza, who was killed by an IED while in Iraq. PHOTO COURTESY OF CARL DEAL

Copeland’s murder marks a loss of innocence for all of San Marcos

No one can say it can’t happen here. It can, and it has.

The murder of a veteran San Marcos Police Officer on Monday by a suspect who, from what we know, had every intent of harming as many lawmen as he could has shattered another facade of life in the city we all love. Coming as it did just eight days after four Hays County deputies were ambushed after being lured by a phony report in Wimberley only reinforces the fact that our fast-growing city and county are not immune from to the violence and hatred that has shown its ugly face in so many places.

Our beautiful river still flows clear, our commercial sector thrives and Texas State University still turns out highly educated and motivated young people — but there’s a stain of sadness over the town now that will never entirely fade.

Officer Ken Copeland’s career with the SMPD spanned almost two decades and in that time, he managed to touch the lives of uncounted people from all backgrounds, ages and faiths. Moreover, he left most with a positive impression and even helped to change some lives.

He was the one to convince a victim of family violence to press charges, and he was among those who went above and beyond the call of duty to attend National Night Out gatherings in our city’s neighborhoods. He was the one who visited a colleague after the birth of a son and would just show up in the driveway of another former co-worker every several weeks, simply for a visit. He was the one who, while working security at a girls’ basketball game, struck up a conversation with the father of one player that heralded a long-time, close friendship. He was, in the words of Mayor John Thomaides, a hero.

Above all, he was a husband and father who would come in on his days off — Monday was one, by the way — not only to help out but to provide more for his wife and four children — all of whom are experiencing the depths of grief others can only try to imagine.

As they, and we, negotiate through these difficult days ahead, memories are comforting but they are not sufficient. As a community, we must ensure that the person responsible for this unspeakable tragedy be brought to justice, and that we throw our support behind the men and women dedicated to making that happen.

As individuals, we can continue to offer our thoughts and prayers and continue to support those Officer Copeland left behind, including the professional officers of the SMPD.

Many questions are still to be answered as the tragic case unfolds, but this much we know: San Marcos has joined other cities from coast to coast in a way none of us wanted. And there’s no going back.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666