The Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) and the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) announced on Tuesday that they are designating the month of September to honor the service and sacrifice of Florida law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2020, including those who have succumbed to COVID-19 while protecting our communities, and raise awareness of the specific ongoing threat to officers from the COVID-19 virus.
“This year, Florida has already witnessed 15 fallen heroes, including 12 who died from COVID-19,” said Satellite Beach Police Chief Jeff Pearson, the president of the FPCA. “Law enforcement officers traditionally wear mourning bands on their service badges to honor and remember their fallen colleagues. The Florida Police Chiefs Association calls on all law enforcement to wear their mourning bands during the entire month of September to publicly salute the service of all fallen law enforcement officers in the state of Florida.”
“Our fallen deputies epitomize the very best of us as they have served dutifully and given the ultimate sacrifice,” said Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz, the president of the FSA. “While we honor and remember them daily, the world together honors them in September as we mourn each lost hero. With our law enforcement partners across the state, the Sheriffs of Florida solemnly salute each and every law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty.”
Overall, 169 law enforcement officers in the United States have died in the line of duty this year, including 91 officers who succumbed to COVID-19. This is a 67 percent increase from last year according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
“Law enforcement officers willingly expose themselves to COVID-19 in the line of duty, and they expose their families when they return home. The Florida Police Chiefs Association is grateful for the sacrifice of law enforcement officers who protect those they serve, even at risk to themselves and their families,” Pearson said.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is also backing the effort.
“Florida law enforcement officers are among the bravest men and women I have ever known. When the world was told to stay home, these officers, without hesitation, answered the call of duty to serve their communities and protect our citizens. Even as COVID-19 cases began to multiply and protests against police made their way to Florida, these officers still put on their badge, uniform and a mask and went to work serving others. Sadly, we have already lost too many officers to this horrible virus. That is why I led my fellow attorneys general from across the nation in support of congressional legislation to ensure the family members of these courageous officers could access survivor benefits. As we dedicate September to these fallen heroes, let us not forget what it means to serve—to sacrifice health and safety to protect others. Most importantly, let’s remember to thank these law enforcement officers for their service,” Moody said on Tuesday.