San Jacinto County Pct. 1 Deputy Constable Neil Adams will be remembered as a hero who laid down his life to protect others. At his funeral on Thursday, March 3, in Coldspring, hundreds of people turned out to bid farewell to “The Sheepdog,” a term taken from a phrase often shared by Adams.
“He would always say, ‘There are sheep and then there are sheepdogs.’ He just chose to be a sheepdog. There are wolves out there and it takes sheepdogs to keep them away,” his wife, Dee Dee, told Bluebonnet News one day earlier when Adams’ body was escorted from Cleveland to Coldspring for the funeral.
Adams, 62, died on Feb. 23 while working an extra job as security for the PlazAmericas Mall in Houston. He was responding to a call for help when he was involved in an altercation that resulted in the assailant gaining control of Adams’ gun and shooting him to death. The assailant later died after being shot by Houston police officers who responded to the emergency.
According to his widow, Adams’ death is a reminder of the tremendous dangers that peace officers face each and every day.
“We need to start backing our law enforcement officers. If we don’t, then the dark side is going to win. That thin blue line that everyone talks about – that’s what protects the citizens from the bad guys. If we allow them to be picked off, then we are lost. We will have nothing,” Dee Dee said.
At his funeral on Thursday, roughly half of those in attendance were law enforcement officers, representing agencies from all across Southeast Texas and a few coming from as far as Chicago, Ill. U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, who also was in attendance, said he was heartbroken to learn of Adams’ death.
“He was such a special person and his family is so important to the county and area. It hurts every time you lose a law enforcement friend, but it especially hurts when it’s so close to home and it’s someone you know,” Brady said. “It’s just a sad, sad day. We are all praying for Dee Dee and the Adams family.”
Rev. Dale Inman, who officiated Adams’ funeral service, spoke of Adams’ courage.
“It’s often said that peace officers are heroes. I believe that with all I have. You get up, put on a badge and gun, and do your job not knowing what’s going to happen,” he said.
Inman said while Adams wore a badge on his uniform, he also wore the mark of courage, integrity and honor on his heart.
“Evil showed up at the PlazAmerica mall and Neil showed up to face it,” Inman said.
After his funeral service, Adams’ flag-draped casket was escorted from the Coldspring Community Shelter by his law enforcement peers as Pct. 1 Constable Roy Rogers, Chaplain Shannon Bowdoin and pipers from Austin Police Department led the way. With the backdrop of an oversized U.S. flag that was draped from a fire truck ladder, the tributes to Adams continued with a helicopter flyover, a riderless horse, a 21-gun salute and flag presentations to Adams’ widow and mother.
In a final tribute to Adams, a police dispatcher called for Adams on the police radio channels, saying, “Coldspring 901. Coldspring 901,” before offering a farewell message and announcing his end of watch.
Interment followed at Montague Cemetery on FM 1725 near Cleveland.