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Tallahassee Police Department honors five officers killed in the line of duty

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 3:51 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Honoring the fallen; that is what the Tallahassee Police Department did Tuesday morning, paying respects to the departments’ five officers who have been killed in the line of duty.

Family, colleagues and the community remembered those who gave their all.

Police Chief Lawrence Revell says he has participated in this ceremony for the past 30 years, but this was his first time as Chief.

He called the ceremony very moving and hopes that the families gathered on Tuesday know that their loved ones will always be a part of the TPD family.

A tribute to five men and women who once wore the TPD uniform with pride began in prayer. Among the names mentioned was Officer Michael Saunders, who was killed on December 12, 2009 after a hit and run during his early morning walk prior to his shift.

“Each and every one of them played an important part in the community they served,” shared his sister, Vhana Saunders. “And not only that but in their own lives.”

She was moved by the ceremony, feeling appreciative, “It’s the first time that I get to be around his community, and the people that meant so much to him. To honor him like this, it’s just nice to know that you are remembered years after you are gone.”

Officers bowed their heads as the names of the fallen were called. Then, family members placed flowers over the names of their loved ones.

A wreath was placed at the memorial, as flags were flown at half staff. Officers saluted the brave men and women, as the playing of the taps was heard.

“It seems so little that we only do it one day a year,” shared Chief Revell, “But it’s important to do it right when we do it, and remember them and just think about them, the level of service they provided and the honor with which they served. You know they are amazing people, every single one of them.”

Families, like the Saunders, know that their loved ones ultimate sacrifice will forever be remembered, as their fellow officers continue to work in their names.

Chief Revell says he hopes that families felt that the community is truly thankful for their loves one’s sacrifice.

The other individuals honored were:

Sergeant Warren T. Gay died June 8, 1981 during a motorcycle accident while he was escorting a Space Shuttle crew who was visiting the Tallahassee area.

Officer Ernest Ponce de Leon was killed on July 8, 1988, while assisting another officer during a suspicious vehicle call. The individuals in the car were from the Maryland Department of Corrections, two of them pulled out handguns and opened fire.

School Crossing Guard Ruby Radney died on November 2, 1990. She was struck by a car while assisting children trying to cross the road at Orange Avenue and Meridian Road.

Sergeant Daniel Dale Green died on November 13, 2002. Sergeant Green was ambushed at the scene of a reported home-invasion robbery. As he arrived on scene, he radioed in a description of a suspicious car, and was shortly thereafter shot and killed by the suspect.

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