The main focus of a police officer’s duty is to protect people and property and by doing so, their own life is in danger. It’s similar to saying the expression we often hear “having one foot in the grave.”

“We know what we do is inherently dangerous and we realize there’s a chance we may not make it home,” said  Harry Zamora, Waller County Sheriff Deputy. He continued, “It was just devastating to lose someone that you know personally. It’s beyond words and beyond belief,” referring to the late Officer Marco Zarate who worked for the Bellaire Police Department in Texas.

Zarate’s watch ended in July, at the age of 52. He was chasing a suspect wanted for robbery when he was involved in an accident that took his life, according to his nephew and fellow officer, Eric Garza, of the Houston Police Department.

“He was always willing to go above and beyond. He’d give you the shirt off his back. Always had a smile,” Garza said. “He’s just loving and caring. He looked out for everyone else before he looked out for himself.”

“As far as I’m concerned, he’s a good friend of mine,” said Officer Patrick Esquibel, also an HPD officer who has known the family about five or six years. Zarate made many HPD connections over the years, including friends like Esquibel.

Zarate served with Bellaire PD for seven years. He worked as a motor officer at the time of his death.

In July, there were some people who shared their thoughts about the officer. “He was always trying to lend a helping hand and say ‘hey good morning.’ He’d always go that extra step. He was genuinely a wonderful man,” Evelyn Sotelo said.

One officer said Zarate was one of the good ones. Another remembered his unforgettable big smile.

Zarate’s family and colleagues remember him as a man who was passionate about his family, career and anyone who crossed his path.

He served in the Motorcycle Unit of the Bellaire Police Department, and in the United States Marine Corps.

“He was a Marine. So, I guess he wanted to go back and serve the community like he did in the military,” Garza said of his uncle’s law enforcement career. Garza makes the second generation in his family who chose to serve and protect. Eric’s father, Joe Garza, was an HPD officer as well.

Officer Zarate instantly found passion when he began his career in law enforcement and through his work, he was able to touch an entire community with his warmth, love, and kindness.

During his career with the Bellaire Police Department, Zarate was assigned over 15,000 calls for service, and issued citations for 8,954 violations. He investigated over 600 motor vehicles accidents and completed 218 crime reports. Zarate also made 431 arrests.

This Sunday, a gathering of Houston area law enforcement will honor the memory of a friend, family member, and fellow fallen officer. The event will be held at Mo’s Place in Katy, TX. It is spearheaded by Daryl Kuykendall, a pro-law enforcement citizen who wanted to do something for the family after hearing about the loss.

“Give thanks to us (law enforcement) that we’re among the best. Because of what we do, it’s the reason why everybody’s able to go about their business; because of people like my uncle who gave their life. Just to give thanks,” Garza said.

His family and friends will remember him always for his infectious sense of humor, unwavering dependability, and the endless supply of love he provided.

Graphic done by Rose Borisow GraFX