Members of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office position a wreath in front of the memorial stone May 10 during the annual Fallen Law Enforcement Memorial ceremony in Largo.
From 1904-2014, 25 law enforcement officers have lost their lives in the line of duty in Pinellas County.
Members of county’s law enforcement agencies, as well as local elected officials and the public gathered at the Sheriff’s Administration Building in Largo May 10 to honor them during the annual Fallen Law Enforcement Memorial ceremony.
The event featured a roll-call of the 25 who have died in the line of duty in the county since 1905 along with a wreath-laying at the memorial stone, as well as “Taps,” a 21-gun salute, and the traditional bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace” by Deputy Ashley Hunt.
Speakers included Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and Commission Chair Janet Long. Assistant Chief Deputy Sean Jowell served as the master of ceremony.
Long talked about the memorial during the May 11 budget work session in Clearwater. She said the ceremony had been heart-felt, especially the part when they read off the names of the 25 who have died serving county residents over the years.
She also brought up the subject of National Peace Officers Memorial Day on May 15, as proclaimed in 1962 by President John Kennedy, and National Police Week that begins during the calendar week in which May 15 falls.
Long said she wanted the county to participate.
“It is important to acknowledge the really good things they [law enforcement] do,” she said, adding, “When we need them, they’re there.”
National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others, according to the officials with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
According to information at www.nleomf.org/programs/policeweek/, there are more than 900,000 law enforcement officers in the United States. Since the first recorded death in 1791, more than 20,000 law enforcement officers in the United States have been killed in the line of duty, including the 25 in Pinellas County.
The names of who have died in the line of duty are engraved on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. This year, 394 new names will be added to the memorial.