Back to School Escort for Late Officer Scherlen’s Children


Social media was flooded with first day of school pictures, excited parents and nervous kids.

But one picture in particular is making the rounds and warming many hearts in the process.

That’s because the kids in the picture belong to the late Officer Justin Scherlen. 

“As a police department we feel like we’re a family. We’re around each other so much that we get to know each other, we get to know each other’s families that we feel that close,” said  Officer Jeb Hilton, Amarillo Police Department.

Nearly two dozen Amarillo Police Officers escorted the Scherlen kids to school this morning.

And the escort was made possible because of one officer.

“Cynthia Palacios is an officer on day shift and she was actually on Justin’s squad and she’s the one that sent out the invite to all the officers. She said that we were going to take them to school the first day,” said Sgt. Carla Burr, Amarillo Police Department.

The Scherlen kids were escorted twice today to Coronado Elementary School.

This morning the fourth and second graders were escorted and then this afternoon the officers returned to escort the preschooler.

Sergeant Burr tells us when the nearly two dozen officers escorted the kids this morning; teachers and parents knew who the kids were.

 “It hit me at lunch time when we took the youngest one in or the third child in. They don’t get to tell dad about these stories and I just, I was bawling. They know their dad’s there with them in spirit and everything but there’s a lot of things they won’t get to share with him that so many other kids do get to share with their parents,” said Sgt. Burr.

Sergeant Burr says in her more than two decade career with APD, this is her first time escorting the kids of fallen officers to school.

She says it’s a tradition they hope they never have to do again.

When it comes to escorting the kids to school other than today, Sergeant Burr tells us that they would like to do it as long as Scherlen’s widow will allow them to be part of the family.

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