Jacksonville Sheriff's Office honors 60 fallen officers and their families

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – They made the ultimate sacrifice in their pledge to serve and protect.

On Thursday, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office held its annual memorial to honor 60 of its own who lost their lives in the line of duty, and also to thank the families who have sacrificed as well.

"They are all still a part of our family," Sheriff John Rutherford said. "We are still here for them and I think they truly appreciate that."

"It brings up old memories of the first time they got the knock on their door, and that's why we like to show up and give them the support as much as we can," said Deputy Christina Dobbs of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

A 21-gun salute and a missing man flyover were just a few ways officers, family and friends paid tribute.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Honor Guard called out the name of each fallen officer, while their surviving family members and friends listened and remembered.

While this day dedicated to the city's heroes is chosen once a year, the Sheriff's Office said they are remembered every day.

"It reminds the public that these men and women put their lives on the line every single day, especially the week after we've had two officers shot at in basically a seven-day time period. We can't have that," State Attorney Angela Corey said.

She's talking about officers like Andrew Benson, who was shot in the shoulder during a routine traffic stop just this past week. Rutherford reflected on the conversation he had with Benson in the hospital.

"(He said,) 'This has been a crazy day, you know,' after he had been shot in the arm and laying a hospital bed, and I said, 'Yeah, but it started out like any other day,' and he said, 'Yeah, you are absolutely right,'" Rutherford said.

Deputies from Clay and St. Johns counties were also at the ceremony to support the fallen Jacksonville officers.

"Our brothers and sisters in blue, brown, green, whatever color, not only are they our family, but their family is our family as well," Dobbs said.

There will also be a memorial in the state Capitol this weekend. St. Johns County will remember their fallen on Wednesday, and National Police Week is celebrated in Washington D.C., May 11-17.

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