Law enforcement officers from Volusia and Flagler counties gathered at Daytona Memorial Park on Friday, May 14, to remember 32 fallen officers during the annual memorial ceremony.
Held during National Police Week, the memorial was attended by members of the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, Flagler County Sheriff's Office, and police departments from throughout Volusia County. The 32 officers mentioned in the ceremony, which included two K-9s, died in the line of duty between 1895 and 2018.
“I know I speak for everyone when I say we have great respect for these heroes, and by us keeping their heroic deeds and proud and honorable service in our hearts, we then ensure that they are never, never forgotten," said DeLand Police Chief Jason Umberger.
The ceremony included the reading of Psalm 23, playing of taps, and the 21 gun salute. When the name of a fallen officer was read, officers with the agency he or she served in stepped forward in recognition with a salute.
In the city of Ormond Beach, Officer Chelsey Palmer stepped up when Officer Robert Grim's name was called. He died in 2004 after he was struck by a vehicle while investigating a traffic accident on Nova Road.
Flagler County deputies paid tribute to its three fallen officers: Sheriff Perry Hall, who died in 1927 after he was struck by a glass bottle; Deputy Sheriff George Durrance, who died in 1927 when he was shot while searching for Hall's murderer; and Deputy Sheriff Charles Sease, who died in 2003 after he was struck by a vehicle being pursued by officers in Flagler Beach.
Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young was the guest speaker for the ceremony. He said a law enforcement officer's job is to put his or her life on the line every day for strangers.
“In law enforcement, we know what the oath of office means," Young said. "We stand together and take that oath knowing that we are to uphold the constitution of the United States, and the laws of the state of Florida, but also knowing that if we serve with true courage, it means we may not make it home to our families.”
Policing has always been a "brutally difficult way to make a living," the chief continued. The officers named in the ceremony may be gone, but Young said they will never be forgotten.
“It takes a special person to do this job," Young said. "It takes a special person who realizes that this is more than a job, it’s a calling. It takes a person that realizes that at our core we are nothing more than public servants.”