- May 13, 2021
Since 1895, 37 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty in Volusia and Flagler counties. Of those, four died last year.
"The sad reality of our world, the world in which we live, is that we lose officers in the line of duty," said State Attorney R.J. Larizza. "We've lost them for years and we continue to lose them. It's a grim reality that we face today and every day, all of us in the law enforcement community."
Larizza was the guest speaker at the 2022 Volusia Flagler Law Enforcement Memorial Service, held at Daytona Memorial park on Friday, May 20. The service, attended by hundreds of local law enforcement officers, is held during National Police Week. It was a somber affair, featuring a roll call of all the local officers that have lost their lives in the line duty, which included two K-9s.
In 2021, the community mourned the loss of Port Orange Police Sgt. Justin White, Flagler County Sheriff's Office Deputy First Class Paul Luciano, Bunnell Police Sgt. Dominic Eugene Guida and Daytona Beach Police Officer Jason Robert Raynor. White and Luciano died of COVID-19. Guida died of a heart attack during a training event, and Raynor was shot while on patrol. A fifth officer was also added to the local list of fallen heroes this year — FCSO Sgt. Franceso Luigi Celico, who died in 2011 after a heart attack following his response to a call, and whose name was added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. on March 27.
"As we come together, think about what it takes to get up every morning, to get out of bed, to put on that uniform, to strap on that gun, to protect and serve the folks of our community, knowing that day could be your last," Larizza said.
He expressed his sympathies to the families who have lost loved ones.
"I've met with families who have lost officers, and I can feel their pain and I can feel their grief, but I can't feel it like they do," Larizza said. "None of us can. But today, when we come together asa group and remember and honor those that have died in the line of duty, those who have died to protect us, we can share that burden with the families."