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Fallen Florida Law Enforcement Officers Honored at Capitol [SLIDE SHOW]

By: Lanetra Bennett; Mike Springer Email
By: Lanetra Bennett; Mike Springer Email
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By: Matt Horn

Tallahassee, Fla. -- Five Florida law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty last year and today they were remembered at an annual ceremony at the state capitol.

Heavy hearts filled the courtyard at the state capitol as five officers killed in the line of duty last year were remembered.

"Anything can turn deadly in a blink of an eye, and so sadly you had to find that out," Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General, said.

Key note speaker Polk County Sheriff, Grady Judd lost one of his own deputies after agreeing to speak at the ceremony.

"I never imagined that one of my own deputies would lose his life in the line of duty just 10 days prior to this ceremony," Grady Judd, Polk County Sheriff, said.

One by one, grieving family members pinned a rose to the area of Florida where their loved one died.

There are the five faces added to the law enforcement officer memorial site here in Tallahassee. It's something that's been done every year since the site was erected in 2000.

Even as the fallen officers were being remembered, Sheriff Judd had a message for criminals.

"If you make one last bad choice by pointing a gun at any one of us, we will make one more good choice and shoot you graveyard dead," Judd said.

Three Florida officers have already been killed in the line of duty this year.


By: Lanetra Bennett
May 6, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - Law enforcement officers risk their lives everyday to keep communities safe. Sometimes these men and women make the ultimate sacrifice.

A rose is placed on the law enforcement memorial board one by one by a surviving family member.

The roses represent officers who were killed in the line of duty in Florida.

Lonnie Miller's father--a detective with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office for nearly 30 years-- was shot to death while intervening an attempted robbery in 1995.

Miller says, "Even though it was years ago, it's a pain that will never go away. You wake up every night; sometimes you think about what took place and there's something you wish that you could've done."

Five law enforcement officers were killed last year.

During the 31st Annual Law Enforcement Officers' memorial at the Capitol Monday morning, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said since the first of January 2012, seven officers were killed, plus one K-9.

The K9 was Koda from the Leon County Sheriff's Office. He was killed during a gunpoint confrontation between deputies and an attempted murder suspect in February. 2013

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the execution-style murder of Larry Boles' brother, who was killed by a felon on early release in 1988.

Boles says the memorial helps ease some of the pain. He says, "It helps the healing a lot. To know that you're supported."

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told the crowd in the Florida Capitol courtyard that he had no idea he would be memorializing one of his own men when he was asked to give the keynote address.

While he remembered his officer who just died in a traffic crash ten days ago, the sheriff also had very stern words for criminals.

He says, "We are one. If you make one last, bad choice by pointing a gun at any one of us, we will make one more good choice and shoot you graveyard dead."

Many of the officers and family members say they long for the day that they won't have to have a memorial like this again. But, they say they know the reality is that they'll be back here next year adding another rose and another name.


By: Lanetra Bennett
May 6, 2013

Today is the annual Florida Law Enforcement Memorial Service presented by the Florida Fraternal Order of Police. The event is being held at the Capitol with Governor Scott in attendance.

5 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2012.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says since January 1, 2013, 7 officers and one K-9 officer have been killed in the line of duty.
The Polk County Sheriff is delivering the keynote address. One of his officers was just killed 10 days before this morning's ceremony.

WCTV has a reporter on-scene and will bring you more information tonight on Eyewitness News.


By: Mike Springer
May 6, 2013

Tallahassee, FL-Law Enforcement Officers along with their family and friends came to Tallahassee Monday to honor those deputies killed in the line of duty.

Hundreds attended the ceremony at the Florida Sheriffs Association.
They honored the 346 Florida Deputies killed in the line of duty. Those names of those deputies are etched onto the memorial wall.

This year, three new news are being added to the wall. They are Deputy Barbara Pill of Brevard County, Deputy Christopher Schaub of Broward County and Detective David White of Clay County.

"Law enforcement officers, you are our last line of defense between a civilized society and complete chaos. And each of these deputies made the ultimate sacrifice to protect all of us," said Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi, the event's keynote speaker.

The memorial wall was built in 2002. It honors those who have lost their lives in the line of duty.


By: Mike Springer
May 5, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - Connie Miller's daughter Donna is never far from her heart. She lost her daughter, a deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, on May 8, 1987.

"Her and a partner were on the way to back up another deputy who was in a shooting and there was sand on the road and the car went out of control and they hit a pole and Deputy Fred Clark died instantly. Donna died the next day," said Miller.

Miller has volunteered countless hours with Tampa Bay Police Department and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office's mounted unit. She says it helps her cope with the loss.

"I know we would have to move on. It's still tough but that's what she would want," said Miller.

"As a law enforcement officer, we think it's not only appropriate, but honor for us to remember what they did and what it cost," said James Preston, president of the Florida Fraternal Order of Police.

The lives of those men and women are honored each year at the Florida Capitol. It's an emotional trip Miller has made every year except for one since her daughter died.

"Just take one day at a time. That's all you can really do," said Miller.

Five Florida officers died in the line of duty in 2012. They will be honored at this year's ceremony at the Capitol. It will take place at 10 am on Monday.


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