A twenty-one guns saluted as helicopters flew overhead and the families of law enforcement officers killed in the line duty mourned.
“We may never personally know the depth of your loss,” said Governor Rick Scott
Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi honored the 13 officers killed in 2011, and the survivors they left behind.
“We appreciate everything that you have been through and we can’t imagine what you have been through, but we continue to constantly pray for you and your families,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Survivors placed roses in a Florida wreath, marking where their loved ones passed. Central Florida sacrificed most.
In early 2011, three St. Petersburg officers were killed. Two were killed while serving an arrest warrant in late January.
“Sadly we have been to too many funerals.”
St. Pete’s Mayor Bill Foster told the crowd the loss is still fresh in his mind.
“January 24th, 2011. That’s what I call my personal 911.”
The pain expressed by the elected officials is magnified in the faces of the survivors.
Florida’s crime rate is at a 41 year low, but in reaching that statistic 13 law enforcement officers lost their lives. That’s four more than died in 2010.
The end of the ceremony was marked by bagpipes playing Amazing Grace and a promise by state leaders to never to forget the officers.
Monday marked the 30th annual Florida Law Enforcement Memorial. Since the state began keeping records, 713 officers have died in the line of duty.