The Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) and the Florida Sheriffs Association issued a joint proclamation Tuesday, designating September as a month to remember the state’s fallen officers.
The associations, along with Attorney General Ashley Moody, are encouraging officers to wear mourning bands throughout the month to honor the roughly 21 officers who died in Florida in 2021 alone.
“It takes a special person to take the oath and wear a badge,” Moody said. “When we lose one of these heroes, it wounds every member of Florida’s strong law enforcement family. In Florida, we back our officers and when we grieve, we grieve together, vowing to never forget the contributions each and every one of our fallen officers has made to the safety and strength of our state.”
The proclamation comes as law enforcement officers face a resurgent on-the-job hazard: COVID-19.
More than 220 law enforcement officers have died nationwide including 115 from complications related to COVID-19.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, COVID-19 is the leading killer of law enforcement officers in 2020 and 2021.
“Now, to honor and remember their fallen colleagues, the Florida Police Chiefs Association calls on all law enforcement to wear mourning bands the entire month of September and publicly salute the service of all fallen law enforcement officers in the state of Florida,” said FPCA president and Daytona Beach Shores Public Safety Department Director Stephan Dembinsky.
In all, roughly 80,000 law enforcement, corrections and corrections probation officers serve in Florida.
Moody earlier this month traveled to several cities as part of a Thin Line Tribute Initiative.
During the visits, Moody noted Florida as one of the deadliest states for felonious acts against law enforcement officers this year.
Florida Sheriffs Association President Bobby McCallum encouraged officers nationwide to take part in the September recognition.
McCallum also serves as Sheriff of Levy County.
“Alongside our law enforcement partners, the sheriffs of Florida salute those who have lost their lives in the line of duty,” McCallum said. “We will never forget those who bravely served their community and gave the ultimate sacrifice.