Tallahassee, FL (May 4, 2015) – Today, the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) honored all 356 deputies and officers, including three recently fallen whose names are etched on the FSA Memorial Wall. Incoming FSA President Sheriff Sadie Darnell and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings joined Sheriffs from across the state at the FSA Memorial Wall to pay tribute to the men and women who died while serving their communities.
The month of May is dedicated to remembering all those who gave their lives in the line of duty, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice for Floridians and their communities. This has become an anticipated and compelling event, recognizing law enforcement officers and deputies who go to work everyday and put their lives on the line to protect our rights and freedoms.
The late Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy, Christopher Smith, died in a November 2014 gun battle when he responded to a house fire in northwest Leon County, will be added to the Fraternal Order of Police Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in the Capitol courtyard and the Florida Sheriffs Association Memorial Wall on Mahan Drive.
The 33rd Annual Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial at the Florida Capitol began with a parade downtown and ended with a ceremony in the Capitol courtyard.
“We could not have asked for a better keynote speaker than Sheriff Demings,” said incoming FSA President Sheriff Sadie Darnell. “It is with heavy hearts that we together honor the three fallen comrades who gave their lives for our communities this year.”
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who said, “I am so grateful for all that the Florida Sheriffs Association does to remember those who lost their lives protecting our communities. Our law enforcement officers and deputies selflessly serve the state of Florida each and every day, and my prayers go out to those who have lost their lives and to those who continue to serve us.”
On Monday afternoon, three names were added to the Memorial Wall for this ceremony; the three men were honored, and family members and Sheriffs from their counties were also recognized. The hundreds in attendance paid a special tribute to the Sheriff’s deputies who lost their lives in the line of duty with a moment of silence as a riderless horse was led across the memorial. Honored were:
- Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Smith| end of watch November 22, 2014 (gunfire)
- Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer Mark H. Larson| end of watch March 24, 2014 (vehicular assault)
- Orange County Deputy Jonathan Scott Pine| end of watch February 11, 2014 (gunfire)
The FSA Memorial Wall served as a symbolic background for today’s ceremony as it represents the dedication of Florida’s Sheriffs’ Offices. The wall, established in 2002, was created to honor those who lost their lives in the line of duty. Each day that our Sheriffs and deputies dedicate themselves to protecting Floridians is a day for us to remember those who have passed.
Names added to the Florida Fraternal Order of Police Law Enforcement Memorial this year:
Orange County Deputy Jonathan Scott Pine
Windermere Police Officer Robert “Robbie” Gord German (Mar. 22, 2014)
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer Mark H. Larson
Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Chelsea Renee Richard (May 3, 2014)
Leon County Deputy Chris Smith
Tarpon Springs Police Officer Charles Kondek Jr. (Dec. 21, 2014)