funeral of Houston Police Department Helicopter Division Flight Officer Jason Knox

May 11, 2020

I attended the funeral of Houston Police Department Helicopter Division Flight Officer Jason Knox today and want to give our Honor Guard members an idea of how this funeral was conducted due to the COVID-19 Virus as opposed to funerals we normally attend. The format was completely different than what we normally see. Due to the fact this funeral was a private funeral for only the family, close friends and First Responders of Officer Knox, the usual THOUSANDS we would see at such a line-of-death funeral was not there. Although there were HUNDREDS, the number of Honor Guard members from other agencies appeared to be greatly reduced as I saw no out of state Honor Guard members and only local area Honor Guard members. I talked to one (1) Montgomery County S.O. Guard member who said his agency only sent one due to the virus concerns.

Upon entering the church everyone had to put on a specific type of face mask regardless of the type you may have worn into the church and social distancing was STRICTLY enforced. The First Baptist Church is HUGE but only a certain number were allowed inside which made the number of people sitting in the church appear to be a small number. As always the Houston Police Honor Guard did an OUTSTANDING job in their precision movements with all, of course, wearing masks as can be seen in the attached photo. The number of Honor Guard members attending was much smaller than normal but they were allowed to sit in a certain section. Prior to my retirement from the HPD and due to the fact that I use to be the Division Commander of the HPD Helicopter Division, I was ask by the present Commander to sit with the Helicopter Officers which I was proud to do. With the mask and social distancing in place, it was difficult to talk and interact with anyone around you however. I was ask to visit the helicopter hanger soon which I plan to do.

Once the service was over, all Honor Guard members present went to the parking lot first. We stood at attention and at parade rest for over an hour in the sun. It got a little tough on all the Guard members. When we were dismissed, several around me said, “… my legs and feet gave out 20 minutes ago….”. However the outside program was impressive. What is normally done at grave side by the Honor Guard Team was done at the church. Posting of the colors, the bag pipe players, the 21 gun salute and taps were all conducted at the church.

Most impressive and emotional was when Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo announced over the loud speaker, “ …. Houston Police Helicopter Officer Jason Knox 75 Fox is off-duty for the final time…” and then four HPD helicopters flew in formation over the church at an altitude of about 200 feet as one ship peeled off to the right to signify the “missing man formation”.

I had the pleasure of knowing Jason as a friend as he and I talked often about our mutual love and restoration of old police cars and showing our cars together. The 2 older HPD cars that he restored were at the Church to honor him. Several state and local VIP’s were on hand and many wonderful comments about Jason’s personality and ready smile were made by fellow Officers during the service. Officer Jason Knox was an exceptional man and a dedicated and professional Police Officer having gotten his private fixed wing license even before he got his first drivers license. His main reason for joining the Houston Police Department was to serve the city by becoming a pilot with the HPD Helicopter Division now known as the Aviation Support and Marine Division. Officer Knox will truly be missed by the Houston Police Department as they lost one of their finest.

Thank each of you LCSO Honor Guard Team members for what you do but due to the COVID-19 Virus, you were not expected to participate in this event. I passed onto the Helicopter Division Commander condolences on behalf of Sheriff Rader and the entire LCSO personnel for their loss.

Thank you,

Capt. DeFoor

LCSO Honor Guard

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