Photo/Story Gallery 2011

Police Officer Assistance Trust Recognizes Fallen Troopers

Lt. Leeper, Trooper Blanco, Sgt. Thomas, Troopers Pechin, Farris and Smith at Trooper Alvin Kohler’s gravesite after placing memorial flags to honor his service.On April 29, 2011, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Highway Patrol honored Trooper Alvin Kohler by placing flags at his burial site in Clay County at Memorial Gardens as part of the Police Officer Assistance Trust organization’s HERO project. Kohler died in Miami-Dade County on Sept. 19, 1978, when a runaway teenager shot him while he was assisting a motorist with a disabled vehicle. Troopers Smith, Ferris, Pechin and Sgt. Thomas arrive at Trooper Kohler’s burial site.A tow truck driver at the scene also was shot and killed. Kohler had served the residents and visitors of Florida as a members of the Florida Highway Patrol for one year. His career began with FHP on Oct. 17, 1977, and he graduated from the FHP Academy on April 7, 1978, with the 54th Basic Recruit Class. Upon graduation, Kohler was stationed in Miami. At the time of his death, he was 23 years old.

The POAT recognizes the importance of honoring those who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of making our community a safer place to reside. In an effort to further recognize the fallen officers of Miami-Dade County, POAT initiated Project HERO – Honoring Every Resting Officer.

Project HERO sets out to honor officers killed in the line of duty at their resting location. The officers will be honored annually in May, coinciding with the many events such as National Police Week and Memorial Day. During this period, POAT will place United States and Eternal Blue Line Flags at the foot of each grave or crypt. Grave markers, labeled Police Officer and in the shape of police badges, will hold the flags in place. POAT has ordered all the supplies and mailed them to locations throughout the United States, to include Puerto Rico, where the heroes are buried. In addition, the Miami-Dade Police Districts also will fly the Eternal Blue Line Flags on order to memorialize the fallen.

Pictured top left: Lt. Bill Leeper, Trooper Roy Blanco, Sgt. Roger Thomas, Troopers Daryl Pechin, Jared Farris and Larry Smith at Trooper Alvin Kohler’s gravesite after placing memorial flags to honor his service. Pictured top right: Troopers Larry Smith, Jared Ferris, Daryl Pechin and Sgt. Roger Thomas arrive at Trooper Kohler’s burial site.