MILTON — Members of the Santa Rosa and neighboring communities gathered on May 15 at the Santa Rosa Sheriff's Office to honor the Florida officers and K-9 units who died during service in 2018.
Sheriff Bob Johnson said they were there to honor the men and women and K-9s for their services.
"It's a somber event but one we must do," he said.
In 2018 Florida lost 11 police officers while on duty. Those 11 officers were:
Police Officer Jermaine Brown of the Miami-Dade Police Department
Sergeant Larry Marreno, of the Miami-Dade Police Department
Deputy Sherrif Benjamin Zirbel of the Clay County Sheriff's Office
Police Officer Adam Miller of the Fort Myers Police Department
Correctional Officer Tawanna Marin of the Florida Department of Corrections
Police Officer Thomas Coulter of the Daytona Beach Police Department
Police Officer Lance Whitaker of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office
Deputy Sheriff William Gentry of the Highlands County Sheriff's Office
Sergeant Noel Beltran of the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office
Deputy Sheriff Taylor Lindsey of the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office
Deputy Sheriff Kevin Stanton of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office
The K-9 units who died while in service were Cigo of the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and Fang of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Johnson said the SRSO has a member of its K-9 unit who was injured in the line of service this year.
"They are very special to us," Johnson said. "They are our protectors. They are like our kids. So that is why we honor them."
The SRSO memorial services have taken place since 2009 when former Sheriff Wendell Hall began the tradition.