POLK COUNTY, Fla — Law enforcement and corrections officers who died in the line of duty while serving the citizens of Polk County were honored at the 33rd Annual Polk County Peace Officers' Memorial Service.
The memorial is held for family members of fallen officers, but many community members came to show support for the men and women who protect our communities.
“They’re very entrenched in the community here, so when we lose an officer the community loses an officer,” said Lakeland Police Chief, Ruben Garcia.
The Annual Peace Officers' Memorial Service, was delayed twice because of COVID-19. Thursday, law enforcement agencies from across Polk County were able to remember the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The names of two Lakeland Police Officers, Kenneth Foley and Paul Dunn, were added to the memorial wall. They died in the line of duty in 2019 and 2020.
“It’s certainly a sense of pride knowing they served with these men. It helps with the closure of the loss and it helps to go on and honor their memory,” said Garcia.
Officer Foley was a 29-year veteran and Dunn was a 20 year veteran of the Lakeland Police Department.
The memorial service included taps, a roll call of heroes, and a helicopter flyover. Garcia said the memorial is a way of recognizing the sacrifices law enforcement officers make every day.
“It’s important that we come back together as a community to honor their service and their sacrifice,” Garcia said.
A total of 35 Polk County law enforcement officers are honored at the memorial site. Officers killed in the line of duty in 2021 will be added to the memorial next year.