Honoring Fallen Heroes: TPD Annual Law Enforcement Memorial

[UPDATE] Tallahassee, FL - May 17, 2012 - 5:19pm

The Tallahassee Police Department honors fallen heroes of the Capital City.

"I'm always blessed to have the department remember the officers." Tallahassee resident Debbie Green says.

One of those officers is Debbie Green's husband, Sgt. Dale Green.

Green says, "I'm honored and at the same time, it's really difficult because it tells me another year has gone by."

Sgt. Green was shot and killed when he was ambushed while responding to a home-invasion robbery in 2002.

"It's been nine and a half years for Dale, and that's really hard for me. Each day is difficult." Says, Green.

During TPD's annual Law Enforcement Memorial in front of the station Thursday, Chief Dennis Jones performed the wreath ceremony as all of the fallen officers' names were called.

Officer Warren Gay was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1981while providing an escort for a Space Shuttle crew.

Officer Ernest Ponce de Leon was killed in 1988 by prison escapees from Maryland during a vehicle call.

Officer Michael Saunders was killed by a hit-and-run driver in 2009.

Former TPD Officer Kelly Burke says, "Mike was just one of those gentle giant kind of guys. Real quiet and all, but very methodical, steadfast in what he did. He was just one of those dependable officers."

Burke understands the danger officer's face every day. He was with TPD for 25 years.

Burke says he'll never forget his friends who made the ultimate sacrifice.

He says, "This is a very high calling. It has great risks involved, but still, what a great opportunity to be involved in law enforcement."

The memorial also honored officers who died from natural causes.

Tallahassee Police Officers also attended the national memorial on May 13th in Washington, D.C.


Tallahassee, Florida - May 17, 2012 - Noon -

In a special salute, Tallahassee Police officers honored those who gave it all. TPD held it's Annual Law Enforcement Memorial on May 17th.

This week is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Week, and the Tallahassee Police Department held its own personal ceremony to honor the fallen heroes who've served this community.

The ceremony was held at TPD at the rose garden. Officers lowered the flags to half staff and Chief Dennis Jones placed the memorial wreath down as the names of the Tallahassee Police Officers who were killed in the line of duty were called.

Those who made the ultimate sacrifice were: Officer Warren Gay, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1981, Officer Ernest Ponce de Leon, who was shot during a vehicle call in 1988, Sergeant Dale Green who was shot by a home-invasion robber in 2002, and Officer Michael Saunders who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in 2009.

The family members of those fallen heroes were at the ceremony. Eyewitness News had the opportunity to speak with Sergeant Green's wife. It's been nine and a half years since her husband was ambushed by that robber.



Tallahassee, Florida - May 16, 2012 -

You hear the siren or you see the emergency lights flashing along the side of the roadway. It is easy to take for granted the safety and security that we have in the Tallahassee community. We go about our daily lives, making sure our children arrive on time for school or other related activities, grocery shopping, or that drive home every day. One thing that is easy to forget is the sacrifice each law enforcement officer and their family make to ensure the safety of a community. Sometimes tragedy strikes and a law enforcement officer give the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe. This is when we realize how fragile the balance of life and the reality of what our law enforcement officers accomplish become all too clear.

May 13-19, 2012 is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Week, with May 15th set aside as National Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial Day. The Memorial Day recognizes the sacrifice of those who bravely and courageously gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to their community.

The Tallahassee Police Department will honor all fallen heroes in a ceremony this Thursday, May 17th at 9:00AM. The ceremony will take place in front of the Police Department at the Rose Garden. Members of the media and public are invited to attend.

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