20 years later: Sergeant Kevin Cox remembered after line-of-duty death

Hard lessons learned, changes made to SWAT team in the last two decades
Sgt. Cox, a longtime veteran of the force, was killed by friendly fire during a SWAT standoff...
Sgt. Cox, a longtime veteran of the force, was killed by friendly fire during a SWAT standoff in July 2001. His death has lead to several lasting changes to the department.(Lubbock Police Dept.)
Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 11:14 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2021 at 11:23 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - July 13th , 2001. It’s a day that’s hard to forget.

Hours into a SWAT stand-off, a barrage of bullets went off in the south Lubbock neighborhood blocked off by authorities for a barricaded subject.

One hitting a 16-year veteran of the force, Sergeant Kevin Cox, in the chaos.

“One of the rifle team members accidentally shot Kevin and killed him. It’s a tragedy that that happened. It’s horrible for Kevin and Kevin’s family and for our department,” Assistant Chief Neal Barron said.

“We remember him, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, both blood and blue,” Chief Floyd Mitchell said on the 20th anniversary of his death.

The mention of his name still brings a smile to Barron’s face. Sgt. Cox showed him the ropes back in 1996.

“There was never any short runs and never any short workouts. He made sure we left the academy ready to face whatever we might face as young police officers,” he said.

A mentor, whose lessons still live on two decades later.

“[Cox] has left a great legacy here at the police department. He is not forgotten, he is thought of very often. And he left some big shoes to fill and we strive everyday to fill those,” Barron said.

In light of his line-of-duty death, the SWAT team underwent several changes.

More training, more funding and upgraded armored vehicles.

“They have to know what the current industry standards are, they have to know what their teammates are thinking, what their next move might be, how to plan a search warrant operation, how to plan a barricaded subject operation, " Barron explained.

It’s all in the hopes to never have another hard lesson like this to learn again.

“We always use that situation as a tool to make sure that everyone keeps in the front of their mind the reason why we’re so careful doing this job, the reason that we take the precautions that we do,” he said. “Because bad things can happen.”

Since changes were made, the SWAT team has gone on to state-wide and national championships.

“Kevin would be proud of that. I know that he took a lot of pride in the SWAT team,” Barron said.

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