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Tampa Bay Law Enforcement Officers Honor Fallen Comrades

May 9, 2018

Just days after a Florida sheriff's deputy was killed in the line of duty, ceremonies were held in the Tampa Bay area Wednesday to remember fallen law enforcement officers.

Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi attended a memorial ceremony in Hillsborough County.

Meanwhile, Democratic State Sen. Darryl Rouson spoke at a similar observance in Pinellas County. Rouson told those gathered that the best summer job he ever had was working as an intern for the St. Petersburg Police Department.

“I got to know that officers were human, that they had families and concerns,” he said. “Most of all they were answering, with courage, this call to duty.”

Democratic State Sen. Darryl Rouson speaks Wednesday at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office annual memorial service for the department's 25 deputies killed in the line of duty.
Credit Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Rouson added that the annual memorial service was an important observance for those that serve.

“It’s to pay respects to the men and women of the uniform that have laid down their life in the pursuit of peace, in the pursuit of justice and the pursuit of giving some sense of order to a disorderly society,” he said. “We need to honor that and remember that."

During the ceremony, Honor Guard members raised, then lowered an American flag to half-staff to honor those that died.

A wreath was also placed before a stone memorial bearing the names of 25 law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty in Pinellas County since 1905.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the recent deputy shootings is a stark reminder of the dangerous realities of serving.

"This could happen at any moment and we need to be vigilant, we need to be aware, we need to provide for these law enforcement officers so they have the best training and the best equipment,” he said. “But sometimes bad things happen and we have to recognize that."

A Highlands County Sheriff's deputy died Monday afternoon, a day after being shot in the head while responding to a dispute between neighbors.

In April, two sheriff deputies from Gilchrist County were killed in what officials called an ambush. The deputies were shot dead through the window of a Chinese restaurant by a man who then killed himself.