The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 5-30 held the city's annual Police Memorial Day Observance on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at the Fallen Officers Memorial Wall in downtown.
Each year survivors and colleagues gather to pay tribute to the officers who have died in the line of duty serving Jacksonville since recordkeeping began in 1840.
During his address, Sheriff Williams, one of five Sheriffs elected to serve Jacksonville since consolidation in 1968, talked about the sacrifices of the fallen and their families.
"There is no greater sacrifice in this vocation as a sworn officer than to lay down one's life in the pursuit of serving and protecting the community that they love," said Sheriff Williams.
This year, 62 officers were recognized as the Sheriff and Cade Whitaker, son of fallen Police Officer Lance Whitaker, unveiled Officer Whitaker's name on the Fallen Officers Memorial Wall. Whitaker died in the line of duty on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, while responding to a traffic crash near I-295 and Alta Drive in his marked patrol unit when he was involved in a single-vehicle traffic crash.
The wall was conceived and brought to fruition in 2017 by local resident Adam Resch, as his Eagle Scout Project and additions have been made to the wall since, including three lifelike statues and an interactive kiosk donated by the Finker-Frenkel Foundation.
In addition to the survivors of the fallen, other honored guests in attendance at Wednesday's service included Mayor Lenny Curry, State Attorney Melissa Nelson, Public Defender Charlie Cofer, Fire Chief Kurt Wilson, City Council President Aaron Bowman, members of the judiciary and other elected and appointed officials, as well as members of JSO's neighboring law enforcement agencies and the state and federal law enforcement partners that the agency works with every day.
Please click here to access JSO's Roll Call of Honor
*The Police Memorial Day Planning Committee extends a special Thank You to the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 5-30 staff, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, the Greater Jacksonville Agriculutural Fair Association, Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home, River City Science Academy and SMG Jacksonville for all of their contributions to the 2019 ceremony.