Bishop (KIII News) — The Bishop Police Department is mourning the loss of one of their own -- 24-year-old Pedro Vela.
Vela was killed in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident this past weekend in his hometown of Brownsville, Texas.
Bishop Police Chief Billy Durbin said there were only six officers on their force, and they were all very close. He's been an officer in Bishop for six years and the police chief for the last year, and he said he had grown to know Vela very well.
"Officer Vela was a tremendous asset to this police department," Durbin said. "He was a valued friend, colleague, and employee. He's practically a family member to myself and many of the officers here."
So it should come as no surprise that reflecting on Vela's time at the department was tough for Durbin. Their police force is so close that as soon as Durbin heard Vela was in the hospital, he and another officer headed down to Brownsville. They didn't know the specifics of the motorcycle accident and how it happened, but the result ended up being fatal.
"In the morning I woke up and I got dressed and started heading back to the hospital," Durbin said. "That's when I received a phone call from Lt. Olvelos, who was with him in his final moments."
All that's left to remember Vela by at the Bishop Police Department is a flag he had put on the wall. Durbin said they plan to keep it there forever.
Durbin said he is trying to cope with Vela's death as best as possible, but this is the first time he has lost someone so close.
"This is kind of new to me," Durbin said. "I have never experienced this kind of loss in my law enforcement career."
Vela's funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 26, at Our Lady Good Counsel in Brownsville.
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