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Pensacola Honors Fallen Police Officers

Bob Barrett

Since 1889, 14 members of the Pensacola Police Force have died in the line of duty. Wednesday morning, the city took time to remember their service. Pensacola Chief of Police Chip Simmons stood in the shade outside Police Headquarters Wednesday morning addressing dozens of citizens, dignitaries and fellow officers and asked they would be willing to sacrifice for their fellow man. "You are looking at a wall with the names of men that did just that. They put their lives on the line for their community...for all of us. And it cost them dearly."

The Pensacola Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony is held each year to honor the Pensacola Police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. During the ceremony, Detective Jeff Brown, the President of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 71 read the roll call of heroes: the names of all 14 officers who died on duty in Pensacola. Beginning with J.W.R. Gordon in 1889, and ending with Glenn Rowe Austraw in 1997. As the names were read, a single rose was placed at the foot of the memorial in front of police headquarters, either by an officer or by a relative of the deceased.

Credit Bob Barrett

Officer Austraw was the last Pensacola Police Officer lost in the line of duty. In his remarks at the ceremony, Mayor Ashton Hayward talked about how long it’s been since that loss. He also praised the department’s actions 12 months earlier during the floods, noting that the officers worked around the clock and no lives were lost within the city's limits.

The ceremony ended with a 21 gun salute by the Pensacola Police Honor Guard and a benediction delivered by assistant chief David Alexander. Later, Chief Chip Simmons talked about the importance of remembering their fallen officers, and his pride towards the men and women currently on the force.

This week’s ceremony honored officers from the Pensacola Police Department. Next Wednesday, a similar ceremony will be held for members of the Escambia County Sheriffs' department.

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.