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.
"We come today to express our boundless gratitude to our fallen comrades" said Pensacola Police Chief David Alexander as he addressed a solemn crowd of city and county officials, police officers and their families and friends during the annual law enforcement memorial ceremony outside Pensacola Police Headquarters. "You being here today not only acknowledges those who have fallen, but it also supports the men and women who have made the noble choice to guard this community."
The sunny morning was filled with military style pomp and ceremony as the department paid their respects to the officers who were killed in the line of duty. Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward spoke to the crowd about his respect for the officers on the force. "On this solemn day of remembrance, we gather to honor those who we have lost. And we give thanks to the 19 years since we last lost one of Pensacola's finest. The nearly 200 year history of the Pensacola Police Department is rich with stories of (officers) going above and beyond to protect and serve our great city."
As officers stood at attention, Detective Jeff Brown, the President of the Fraternal Order of Police lodge number 71 read the roll call of heroes to the silent crowd. Starting with J.W.R. Gordon who lost his life on September 22, 1889; and ending with Glenn Rowe Austraw who died on February 26, 1997. The honor roll was followed by a 21 gun salute by the Pensacola Police Honor Guard.
After the ceremony, Chief Alexander talked about the importance of remembering officers who lost their lives in the line, saying it's a reminder that we live in dangerous times and even the most routine duty for a police officer could be dangerous. Although he has attended many of these ceremonies over the years, this was David Alexander’s first as Chief of Police in Pensacola.