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Lakeland officer killed in police motorcycle crash

Officer Paul Dunn was driving to work when his police motorcycle crashed.
Lakeland police officer Paul Dunn, left, was killed Thursday morning after his police motorcycle crashed while he was driving to work. Polk County deputies are investigating. [Lakeland Police Department, Polk County Sheriff's Office]
Lakeland police officer Paul Dunn, left, was killed Thursday morning after his police motorcycle crashed while he was driving to work. Polk County deputies are investigating. [Lakeland Police Department, Polk County Sheriff's Office]
Published Jan. 9
Updated Jan. 11

A Lakeland police officer was killed early Thursday morning after his police motorcycle was involved in a crash.

Officer Paul Dunn, 50, was killed in the incident, which occurred about 5:45 a.m. in the northbound lane of Lakeland Highlands Road just south of Lake Miriam Drive, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office reports.

Deputies said Dunn was driving the Harley Davidson Police Road King motorcycle to work when the crash occurred. Deputies said for reasons unknown at this time, Dunn’s motorcycle collided with and drove over a concrete median between the north and southbound lanes. Dunn then lost control of the motorcycle.

Officer Dunn was taken to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center and pronounced dead at 6:53 a.m., deputies reported.

Polk sheriff’s deputies are investigating.

Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said investigators will try to determine if another vehicle was involved in the crash. He said other motorists saw the motorcycle in the road and stopped to help. They found a faint pulse and performed CPR.

Judd said investigators will find out if there is video of the incident to help determine if another vehicle was involved.

Lakeland Police Chief Ruben Garcia said Officer Dunn had worked for the agency since 2013 and had worked for the sheriff’s office for about 12 years prior to that. He was a U.S. Marine.

“We have suffered a tragic loss out here this morning,” Garcia said at a news conference near the scene of the crash. “It’s a tragic loss for the agency and the community as well. This is a loss of a family member. This was a fine officer who worked for this community every day."

In a Facebook post, the department said Officer Dunn was married and has an adult daughter and two adult sons who are currently serving in the armed forces.

“Please keep Officer Dunn’s family and all those who loved him in your thoughts and prayers as we are grieving this huge loss to our agency and our community,” the Facebook post states.

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