Behind every badge is a story about the person who wears it.
One North Texas couple went across the state to gather those stories for their new book, aptly named "Behind the Texas Badge."
For Grand Prairie Assistant Police Chief Christy Martinez, that story was born from a desire to be a force for good after a brush with tragedy at 16 years old.
"I hope to bring the same type of energy -- a sense of hope that was quickened to me that particular night," Martinez said.
In September of 1999, a friend invited her to a prayer rally and concert at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth.
Not long after the program began, a man with a gun ran inside the church and fatally shot seven innocent people before taking his own life.
A lot about that night is hazy for Martinez. But she vividly remembers the off-duty Fort Worth Police officer who was nearby, heard the gunshots, and rushed into the church to help them.
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"He was a sign of relief, of hope -- and he allowed all of us to get out of there as quickly as possible," Martinez said. "He readily answered the call. And that's what spoke to me."
That moment is what inspired her to pursue a career in law enforcement, she said.
And it's what prompted Doug and Carol Hutchison, a married couple now living in Gainesville, to give Martinez a call.
“That really struck us," Carol Hutchison said. "And we were eager to hear the rest of her story.”
The two of them -- one a retired Irving Police motorcycle officer, the other a professional photographer -- had set out on a mission to find stories just like Martinez's and compile them into a book.
“I was very appreciative to be thought of in that regard," Martinez said.
“We wanted to do something to lift [officers'] spirits and to show people that they’re human beings – and that they care about people," Carol said.
The Hutchisons spent a year traveling more than 15,000 miles to every corner of Texas, where they met with officers, snapped pictures of them and captured their stories -- some inspiring, some heartbreaking, and some that are downright funny.
“You can look in those officers’ eyes and you can almost see their souls," Doug said. "And you realize that this is not just a paycheck. It’s not something they want to do for fun. It’s something they feel they were truly called to do.”
The Hutchisons hope that is indeed what comes through the pages.
For more about the book, visit the official "Behind the Texas Badge" website.