Law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice are being remembered Monday in the capital city and across the nation.
Memorial services kicked off with a parade through downtown Tallahassee Monday morning, but just hours before, Tallahassee's police chief led his force in a special tribute for their fallen officers.
As the sun rises over Tallahassee police headquarters, the names of fallen heroes are announced, including the latest loss, SGT Dale Green, who was shot down during a home invasion in November of 2002.
Betty Green, SGT Dale Green's mother, says, “It's a blessing and I appreciate it, even just the memories are important because he stood for the right thing.”
It's Mrs. Green's second memorial at TPD since her only son passed away. She says the service helps her heal, a common feeling for many of these officers. In the past 23 years TPD has lost four officers. Remembrances hang on the walls, but Chief McNeil says there's an even larger message he wants his officers to hear.
“Only thing we say and I hope is we never lose another one. We try to make officer realize you have to be safe, visualize,” says Chief McNeil.
Expect the unexpected, he says it's something this sergeant knows all too well as he remembers the night OFC Ernest Ponce de Leon was shot and killed.
SGT Oscar Brannon with the Tallahassee Police Department says, “She said sergeant, I tried to get him to wear his vest. I begged him to wear his vest.”
Even with all the safety equipment, officers lose their lives. It's a sacrifice they make to keep the peace everyday, OFC Warren Gay, OFC Ernest Ponce de Leon, OFC Ruby Rouden and SGT Dale Green.
A large scale memorial will take place in Washington, DC on May 13 to remember all of the nation's fallen officers.