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.
- 132 line of duty deaths in 2019
- Murder was the top cause of death for the second consecutive year
- 124 LOD’s in 2020, including 6 in Florida
We created this series several years ago to create awareness about the risk and regular sacrifices made by law enforcement. I felt this was necessary because anti-police rhetoric and activism led to an increase in violence against law enforcement. That’s culminated with murder having become the most common form of death and biggest risk our police face day in and day out. We’re in an especially dangerous moment due to the defund police movement advanced by political opportunists. Opportunists who also are working to undermine confidence in law enforcement and strip them of the resources and protections needed to keep us safe. The violent actors within protests have shown what our society would be like without them and that’s further evidenced by the rise in violence in many cities as law enforcement hasn’t been supported by their local government. Most of our police do heroic things daily which go unnoticed and dozens have been murdered already this year. Their sacrifice is rarely covered by news media and there certainly aren’t protests and movements created to advocate for their safety, but the risk is real day in and day out. Perhaps more so now than ever before.
We’ve lost these heroes since the previous update. In Chicago, Officer Jose Marquez died of COVID-19 contracted on duty. He’s survived by a wife and five children. In South Dakota, Deputy Lee Weber drowned while attempting to rescue a child. The child was saved. He’s survived by a wife and six children. In Texas, Officer Kenneth Harbin died after contracting COVID-19 on duty. Also in Texas, Officers Edelmiro Garza and Ismael Chavez were murdered during an ambush while responding to a domestic disturbance call. On the Texas border, Border Patrol Agent Enrique Rositas died after contracting COVID-19 on duty. An Air Force Veteran, he’s survived by a wife and two children. In Washington, Officer Johnathan Shoop (pictured) was murdered while in pursuit of a suspect. Johnathan was also a Coast Guard veteran.
- The average age of the fallen, 45. The average tour of duty, 15 years.
As we reflect on those we’ve lost, please remember the families of our fallen as well. In addition to losing 124 law enforcement professionals in the line of duty this year, there are 66 widows and 154 children who’ve lost a parent.
Line of duty deaths are 48% higher year to date reflecting the increased risk to law enforcement in our society today. It’s important that the heroism and sacrifice of hundreds of thousands isn’t lost in the actions of a few. 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.