The twenty-four surviving members of the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office said good-bye to Sergeant Noel Ramirez and Deputy Sheriff Taylor Lindsey Tuesday.
Thousands of others, including law enforcement from around the state, were also on hand to pay their respects to the deputies who died in the line of duty last week in an ambush-style attack.
Schools were closed and the governor ordered flags to fly at half-staff to honor the men, who were laid to rest at a cemetery in Levy County.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Craig Floyd, more must be done to make it safer for law enforcement, whose members are often targeted, he said, simply because they wear the uniform.
“Better training, more situational awareness, many of these officers will tell you their heads are on a swivel these last few years, because of the brazen, life-threatening attacks on these officers, you never know when that life-threatening moment may come, but it could come on the very next call,” Floyd said.
Floyd said 40 law enforcement officers in the U.S. have died in the line of duty so far this year, many of them in car accidents.
“The tragic part of the story is that we've seen a 77 percent increase in the number of officers shot and killed this year. That's a major cause for concern,” Floyd said.
Floyd says in the last five years, Florida has had the sixth highest number of law enforcement fatalities in the country. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, so far in 2018, three law enforcement officers have died in the state, including the two Gilchrist County deputies.
On May 13, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial will hold its 30th Annual Candlelight Vigil along the National Mall to remember fallen law enforcement officers from all over the country.