In Memory of Lieutenant William Lyle Gardner
A Hero Despite the Risk
On Thursday, January 7, 2021, Lieutenant William Lyle Gardner of the Denver City Police Department met his end of watch. Lt. Gardner passed away from complications of the coronavirus. He was 59 years old. Gardner’s death is considered a line of duty death, as are other officers in the US who are exposed to COVID.
Lt. Gardner had served his community as a law enforcement officer for more than 33 years. The pandemic has cost the lives of many first responders and law enforcement officers throughout 2020. Despite the risk, Lt. Gardner risked his life every day to continue to provide services and safety to the residents of Denver City, Texas. He did this despite the risk to his own family.
An emergency call came into the department to assist an EMS service call. It was a medical call involving a COVID-positive patient on Rogers Circle. Lt. Gardner rushed in to help, knowing the circumstances. He was a hero who loved putting others first. Call after call, first responders across the country are putting themselves at risk to answer the needs of those fighting the virus.
Lt. Gardner was born in Odessa, Texas. After graduating from the Odessa Law Academy, he began his law enforcement career with the Odessa College Police Department. Gardner then moved to Denver City in 1995. He was a member of the First Baptist Church and a Knight Templar.
Denver City Police Department
Lt. Gardner gave his career and life to the Denver City Police Department. It is a small department with approximately eight officers. These officers provide police services to a community known for its petroleum production.
Denver City is an oil and ranching town in Texas with a population of about 4,500 residents. It was on a ranch here where oil gushed for the first time in 1935.
Those Left with Memories
COVID has left a trail of memories as it has parted loved ones from families across the globe. Gardner’s family will celebrate the memories of his life. Lt. William Lyle Gardner is survived by his wife, two daughters, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Residents, neighbors, friends, and coworkers will honor Gardner’s memory and support his family in their grief.
Hockley County Sheriff’s Office posted details of the loss and appreciation for all that Gardner had done for others. “Lt. William Gardner of the Denver City Police Department passed yesterday following a battle with COVID. Lt. Gardner served the region in various ways, including as a law enforcement instructor, in his over 20 years of service in the area. He will be missed greatly, and we offer our condolences to his family. We pray for family and friends, both blood and blue. Rest easy, sir.”
The Denver City Police Department posted on their Facebook when they had performed the ‘last call’ to honor Lt. Gardner. “Note from The Police Chief: On January 7, 2021, we lost one of our own, Lt. William Gardner, in his battle with COVID. Last night (Jan 16th), at 11 PM, the Denver City PD Dispatch conducted a final “Last Call” tribute to Lt. Gardner. To all those who responded, we thank you for your words and tribute to our fallen. – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” – Matthew 5:9.”
The International Association of Chiefs of Police or IACP posted their condolences on Twitter. “We send our condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Lieutenant William Lyle Gardner, Denver City Police Department, Texas.”
The National Fraternal Order of Police honored Gardner’s sacrifice, sharing the loss on social media. “Blessed Are the Peacemakers. Lieutenant William Lyle Gardner. Denver City Police Department, Texas. EOW: Thursday, January 7, 2021. #EnoughIsEnough #OfficerDown #EOW #ThinBlueLine #COVID19 #BeatTheVirus.”