Those who have sworn to protect Floridians gathered in the Capitol Courtyard Wednesday to remember law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty this past year, and the loved ones they left behind.
In 1988, Miami Beach Police Officer Scott Rakow was shot while chasing a suspect in a drug deal gone wrong. He died a day later. His daughter Erica Reynolds was the event’s keynote speaker. She told a crowd of hundreds Wednesday what their support has meant for her over the years. Reynolds was a small child at the time of her fathers’ death, and her mother a widow at 26 years old.
"He wasn’t there for the holidays, but you were," Reynolds said. "Santa came to my house every single Christmas morning. He pulled up on a motorcycle, and he carried a huge bag with him. Inside was every gift I wrote on my wish list that year. Santa was my hero. And obviously, under that beard and red suit, was a police officer."
A proclamation read on behalf of Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum declared the week of May 13 through 19 Law Enforcement Memorial Week in the City of Tallahassee. Surviving family of 14 fallen officers were presented with plaques commemorating their service — 10 of whom died in the line of duty last year, and four more whose deaths were recently discovered.