Florida honors law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty
Left to right: St. Petersburg Police Sgt. Karl Lounge and Officers Stu Crisco, Jr., and John Martini pose for a picture in front of the Florida Law Enforcement Memorial. (Bender | St. Petersburg Times.)
TALLAHASSEE -- The annual unveiling today of names etched into Florida's Law Enforcement Memorial was more poignant than usual.
Today's ceremony was held in the wake of news late last night that Osama bin Laden had been killed by the U.S. government and the sobering headlines from the past four months that more officers have been in killed in Florida so far this year than all of 2010.
Gov. Rick Scott pointed out that many of Florida's law enforcement officers are military veterans, and said bin Laden's death was "a great tribute 2 our men & women in uniform."
The ceremony honored the deaths of nine officers killed in 2010, including two Tampa Police Department officers and a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputy. But on the minds of many was also the killing of 10 already this year, including three from St. Petersburg. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said that number was the highest of any state through the first four months of 2011.
St. Petersburg Police Sgt. Karl Lounge traveled to Tallahassee for his six annual ceremony, escorting St. Pete's Debbie Greene, who witnessed her son's death during a police ride-along in Alaska. aid he was already thinking about next year.
"Next year is going to be very important for us," he said.
Here are the names of the nine officers killed in 2010: Tampa Police Department Officer David L. Curtis, Tampa Police Department Officer Jeffrey A. Kocab, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Deputy Mark A. Longway, St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Deputy James L. Anderson; Dixie County Sheriff's Office Captain Chad A. Reed Sr., Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Patrick Ambroise, Monroe County Sheriff's Office Deputy Melissa J. Powers, Orange County Sheriff's Office Deputy Brandon L. Coates, Polk County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Wesley R. Whitmore, Jr.