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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  • by Rachel on May 19, 2012 at 05:29 AM
    @Manning up. I like your username "manning up." I spent over two decades in the military and suggest you don't have a clue how to "man up." I lived in NYC and rarely read about police corruption. I'm betting percentage wise there is less when compared to north Florida. There is no connection between "redneck" and "corruption." North Florida, especially Leon, Wakulla, and surrounding counties are fortunate enough to be loaded with both. Will I call 911? In my line of work I've witnessed LEO corruption first hand many times so the answer is "I hope not." Leon and Wakulla county Florida are nothing more than a thinly veiled police states directed by the drunk hit and run corrupt Wakulla sheriff, the drunk DUI Leon sheriff, SA Meggs who covers for them and covers up murders associated with his officers, and the corrupt mayor who sends private detectives against law abiding citizens. There is a reason the FBI is advertising in public, asking citizens to bring them local government corruption cases. I spent several hours with them one day last summer regarding several of your "finest." The "judge, jury...." comment was directed at "anonymous" who, like most local LEO, justify Hoffman's death, directed by TPD, because she was charged with a drug crime.
    • reply
      by Manning Up on May 20, 2012 at 08:47 AM in reply to Rachel
      "Rachel", once again you are making assumptions about who I am and what I do simply based on a point of view that I believe law enforcement officers are honorable and put their life on the line each day. You assert that I work for TPD and it appears that you assume I have no military experience, since that is your definition of "manning up". If we are making assumptions about one another based on our point of view, I would assume you are a jobless, reefer smoking individual who seems to have found an open WiFi signal close to the "Occupy Tallahassee" homeless camp. Let me follow that up with the fact that I do not believe this to be the case, but then again, it really doesn't matter because who you and I are is not what this is about, it's about the opinion you posted, which I countered with mine. Now you bring up two top ranking law enforcement officials, the state attorney and the mayor as your corrupt individuals. Fact is, these are simply figure heads and not the officers and deputies that answer the call when others are in need. The examples of "corruption" among the deputies and officers are few and far between, especially with the numbers. Everywhere you look, you will find bad individuals. There are examples that could be made for the proffession you claim to have been in for 20 years. Does that mean everyone in the miliatry are bad and don't deserve to be honored, absolutely not! I believe in a previous post, you offered to "name names". I'd love for you to follow through wiht his, along with what you feel is "corrupt" about them. No need to bring up Ms. Hoffman. I agree that was a tradgedy and your stance on that issue is clear.
  • by TPD on May 18, 2012 at 09:41 AM
    You got a girl who was innocent until proven guilty murdered on your watch, if it were not for her parents and friends you would have gotten away with it. May you live in shame for the rest or your lives. To any officer who has fallen, I give my respect and condolences. That is the least LEO could do for Ms. Hoffman, yet they chose to smear her image. Look who won the civil trial, there is a reason the city settled. Because they were wrong!
  • by DANNY B Location: TALLAHASSEE on May 17, 2012 at 06:05 PM
    Our respects to all the families who lost loved ones while in the line of duty, along with all LEO's who go on duty, not knowing if they will be saving a life or giving up their own.
  • by Spock on May 17, 2012 at 07:14 AM
    Yes, let's take cheap shots at the many local LEO's that do a great job. Crime is out of control because the good cops leave this miserable venue and the malcontent citizenry.
    • reply
      by Rachel on May 17, 2012 at 04:14 PM in reply to Spock
      Good cops leave Tallahassee because they realize as a good cop there is no future here. It's like a pyrimid. Working your way up the pyrimid only the trash is left in the police force. They get promoted to supervise other trash.
  • by Sad on May 16, 2012 at 08:42 PM
    Huh, your tag light was out, that makes you the ignorant one? Dont like the law, change it, or stop crying. "stopped me in traffic" Its a vehicle violation, were else should they stop you. Again, Ignorant.
  • by The taxpay Yours on May 16, 2012 at 09:48 AM
    TPD stopped me in traffic for a burned out Tag Light and cited me for Defective Equipment, after paying the $123.00 is easy for me to take for granted the security and safety and ignorance to any kind of TPD memorial.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 16, 2012 at 10:56 AM in reply to The taxpay Yours
      Obey the law, and don't neglect your vehicle. It's really pretty simple, you simpleton.
      • reply
        by re: obey the law on May 17, 2012 at 03:12 PM in reply to
        "obey the law"... now if we could only get LEOs to do the same.
      • reply
        by Rachel on May 17, 2012 at 04:06 PM in reply to
        Simpleton? Let me guess, you're LEO. Again, you have a bad attitude. You are the problem. Sorry you made C's in high school.
  • by Say What? on May 16, 2012 at 09:34 AM
    Forget LEO. How about a memorial for those who the cops take advantage of, then send out on a death mission? RIP Ms. Hoffman.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 16, 2012 at 10:55 AM in reply to Say What?
      Dead drug dealers don't get memorials.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on May 16, 2012 at 02:08 PM in reply to
        Yeah they do, there was a music festival last week with over 2,500 people. Plus their families get millions of dollars while an officers family only gets some measly life insurance policy. If the cops would man up and do their jobs we would not even be having this conversation. I'm sure when you pass away no one will do anything for you other than throw some dirt on top of ya.
        • reply
          by Manning Up on May 17, 2012 at 11:50 AM in reply to
          These men, along with all men and women who have given their life in the line of duty, "manned up" when they went to the fight as all others were running away from it. You may be the type of person that just get some "dirt on top of ya", but these men deserve honor and respect, but they certainly wouldn't ask it from you. They were the type of men that would have saved your life and then let you insult them to their face, but be content in the fact that they did their chosen profession with honor and respect.
      • reply
        by Rachel on May 17, 2012 at 04:04 PM in reply to
        Clearly you're a redneck TPD officer since you're admitting you're the judge, jury, and executioner here. Innocent until proven guilty except in Tallahassee. Even your chief admitted you were the problem. You are the reason smart parents won't send their children here to school for fear of them coming back in a bag due to police negligence or misconduct. You are the reason people here either laugh at you behind your back or hate you, nothing in between. There are too many cases of police misconduct and corruption here that is sanctioned all the way to the SA and mayors office. You are the reason crime is exploding here. The citizens aren't the problem. You are. Being a redneck cop in a deep south town full of rednecks governed by corrupt rednecks is the best you will accomplish in life and it speaks volumes about your character, or lack of it. Sorry you believe you deserve a memorial for just doing your job you volunteered for. Sorry you made C's in high school.
        • reply
          by Manning Up on May 18, 2012 at 05:22 AM in reply to Rachel
          "Rachel", I apprectiate the intelligent post. I did have to get some help in reading it though, being the redneck that was an average student and all. I do have a question. You equate corruption with being a "redneck". Historically, corruption has been associated with large law enforcement agencies like NYPD and LAPD, but I've never heard of them being called "rednecks" before. So are all "rednecks" corrupt, or are all corrupt individuals "rednecks"? I assume that if you find yourself in trouble you won't be calling 911 correct? Another question I find myself pondering is why you don't find another place to live if things are so tough here?
        • reply
          by Manning Up on May 18, 2012 at 05:40 AM in reply to Rachel
          "Rachel", That "C" student came out in me again and I fail to see where my post has anything to do with "admitting you're the judge, jury, and excecutioner". Please explain. Futhermore, I'm curious if you are implying I'm a redneck former "C" student because you think I work for TPD or because of my posts with average intelligence with a southern accent?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 17, 2012 at 10:52 AM in reply to Say What?
      If you really think a drug dealer that tried to set up other drug dealers for leniency of their drug charges deserves a memorial, then make one in your pot filled basement for you and your drug buddies. The rest of us will honor and pay our respect to law enforcement officers.
      • reply
        by Rachel on May 17, 2012 at 04:11 PM in reply to
        Again, you are the problem. Don't think you are then ask yourself why the city keeps being the defendent on police misconduct cases. Then make sure you honor all those LEO that planted evidence, beat their wives, filed false police reports and made false arrests, stole from the innocent and the elderly, stalked innocent victims, harassed innocent victims and intentionally violated innocent citizens constitutional rights. Want me to start naming some names, genius?
        • reply
          by Anonymous on May 17, 2012 at 08:40 PM in reply to Rachel
          You generalize all cops as corrupt because of a few bad apples. Yet you expect sympathy for drug dealers. That makes you pathetic.
  • by Rachel on May 16, 2012 at 07:36 AM
    When is there going to be a CI memorial?
    • reply
      by Alex on May 16, 2012 at 01:12 PM in reply to Rachel
      If they attended they wouldnt be confidental anymore.
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