Photo/Story Gallery 2008
FHP Observes Peace Officer Memorial Day
May 15 has been designated as Peace Officer Memorial Day. Across our State, law enforcement officers carry the great responsibility of protecting their fellow citizens. On Peace Officers’ Memorial Day and during Police Week, we honor these brave public servants who fight crime, violence, and terrorism, and we pay homage to the heroes who have fallen in the line of duty.
With valor and devotion, Florida’s law enforcement officers stand watch on the front lines and help make our communities safer and more secure. Fulfilling their duties with courage and commitment, they work tirelessly and put themselves in harm’s way, exemplifying the good and decent character of America.
As we observe Peace Officers’ Memorial Day and Police Week, we pause to pay tribute to those who serve in law enforcement. On this occasion, we especially remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and we pray for the families and friends they have left behind. We thank all of the extraordinary men and women who have answered the call to serve in law enforcement for their commitment to justice and to their communities.
During its 69 year history, the Florida Highway Patrol has lost 42 of its members that were killed in the line of duty. The last in the line of duty death was Sergeant Nick Sottile who was killed on January 12, 2007 in Highlands County, Florida.
Governor Charlie Crist, in accordance with the Proclamation issued by President Bush dated May 9, 2008, has asked that all state and local governments join him in honor of those who serve in law enforcement and especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice by lowering their U.S. and state flags on May 15, 2008. This Thursday, May 15, we are to recognize all of our members and police officers nationwide that have lost their lives in the line of duty by flying the flags at all FHP stations and DHSMV offices at half-mast.
The 26th Annual Police Memorial Service was held on May 5, 2008, in Tallahassee at the State Capitol. Law enforcement officers from all across the state gathered to honor the memory of 16 of their fellow officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.
The solemn ceremony on the steps of the Old Capitol followed a parade through downtown Tallahassee. The Florida Highway Patrol’s Troop H Honor Guard along with their counterparts from numerous other state, county, and city law enforcement agencies around Florida participated in the memorial march as did several bag pipe corps. After the names of each fallen officer were announced, hundreds of law enforcement officers stood at attention for the playing of taps. The parade and the memorial service were organized by the state lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Governor Charlie Crist, Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Attorney General Bill McCollum, HSMV Executive Director Electra Bustle, FHP’s Colonel John Czernis and various other dignitaries and commanders from state, county, and local law enforcement agencies were present. The service included the releasing of butterflies, and a 21 gun salute.
The alarming spike in law enforcement deaths in 2007 prompted Governor Crist to issue an executive order that will call on the public to help locate suspects when a law enforcement officer is wounded or killed It will work similar to “AMBER” alerts and the names and descriptions of suspects will be posted on highway message signs and through a communication network coordinated by the Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and other state and local agencies.
Nation Honors Fallen Police Officers during National Police Week
Published on Wednesday, May 14, 2008
in the Bay Net, MD
Last year, 181 police officers around the United States lost their lives in the line of duty. These fallen police officers were honored this week in a stirring ceremony at Fraternal order of Police lodge 7 in St. Mary’s County.
The startling toll for 2007 turned out to be the deadliest year for police officers since 1989. There was a 20 percent increase in the number of police officers killed over 2006, with the exception of 9/11 when 72 officers lost their lives at the World Trade Center, 2007 was one of the deadliest on record since Peace Officer Memorial Day – May 15 was so designated by President John F. Kennedy in 1962.
President Kennedy also dedicated a week to honor fallen peace officers across the nation. The week containing May 15 is designated National Police Week. Police Officers from around the country come to Washington, DC each year to be part of the memorial ceremonies held at the National Law Enforcement Memorial, which was dedicated in 1991 by President George H. W. Bush. In 1994, President Clinton signed a law requiring flags to fly at half-mast on Peace Officer Memorial Day.
The activities and ceremonies held during this solemn week are a joint, cooperative endeavor by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the FOP Auxiliary. While the most formal ceremonies are held each year in Washington, there are National Police Week observances across the country.
The National Law Enforcement Memorial now, sadly, contains the names of 18,274 peace officers that have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. In addition to the memorial, there are plans to develop a National Law Enforcement Museum. The planned Judiciary Square facility is to open in 2011 during National Police Week ceremonies. The museum, as planned, is to be the most comprehensive of its kind, honoring law enforcement and peace officers across the nation.
For more information about the Memorial and National Police Week, visit www.nleomf.org.