Protecting the Palm Beaches – a tribute to those who serve and sacrifice
Bottom Line: This weekly feature is designed to recognize those who've paid the ultimate price to serve their communities and to serve as a reminder of what our police risk to keep us safe. As we kick off 2020, first here’s a look at what happening in 2019.
- 132 Line of Duty deaths – down from 148 in 2018
- Murder was the top cause of death for the second consecutive year
- Florida suffered seven LOD’s
It’s a mixed bag of news from 2019. Any loss of life in service is clearly unfortunate, however the 11% decline in deaths in 2019 was certainly a positive step. Conversely, it is disconcerting that violence against police officers continued to be the most common cause of death for law enforcement. There are only two years in which murder has been the leading cause of death. 2018 and 2019. Here’s to hoping we end that streak this year.
It was an unfortunate end to 2019 as December proved to be the deadliest month of the year for law enforcement with 18 LOD’s, including ten since my previous update. In Kentucky, Chief Deputy Bobby Jacobs died of a heart attack after arresting a man resisting arrest who’d barricaded himself inside his home. He’s survived by three children. In South Carolina, Private Michael Latu died in an accident while responding to an emergency. In Maryland, Sergeant Anthony Oglesby was killed in an auto accident while on patrol. In New York, Sergeant Scott Johnston died as a result of illness linked to his work as a first responder at ground zero on 9/11. He’s survived by a wife and seven children. In Texas, Officer Jose Meza died during training exercises with his canine unit. He’s survived by a wife and daughter. In Texas, Detective Clifton Martinez was attacked and intentionally struck by a vehicle while responding to a fight in a restaurant’s parking lot. In Texas, Deputy Charles Pfluger was killed in an accident while responding to a burglary. Charles was also an Army National Guard veteran. In Washington, Deputy Copper Dyson was killed in an accident while responding to a domestic disturbance. A military veteran, he’s survived by a pregnant wife and child. In Tennessee, Officer Spencer Bristol was struck and killed by a vehicle while chasing a suspect on foot. A Navy veteran he’s survived by a wife and child. In Texas, Deputy Chris Dickerson was murdered during a traffic stop. An Army veteran he’s survived by a wife and two children.
As we reflect on those we’ve lost, please remember the families of our fallen as well. In addition to losing 132 law enforcement officials in 2019, there are 70 widows and 174 children who’ve lost a parent.
- The average age of the fallen, 43. The average tour of duty, 13 years.
Remember to back the badge and spread the word. Media often aren't there for our law enforcement, but we can be. Let our police, and their families, know we support them every chance you get. They need it, now more than ever, just as we need them more than ever.