There are thousands of law enforcement officers in the state of Florida, sworn to serve and protect its citizens. On Wednesday the state recognized the best of the best honoring nine nominees for their commitment and bravery. For the first time two officers received the Officer of the Year Award.
The 2012 Florida Law Enforcement Officers of the Year are Karl Lounge and Douglas Weaver with the St. Petersburg Police Department. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi set the scene.
"If you can imagine the worst gun fire scenario you've seen on any television show, this is worse, what these officers experienced,” Bondi said.
The officers were involved in a gunfight with a fugitive, in January 2011 where several law enforcement agents were killed. Sergeant Lounge was shot in the hand, but still managed to evacuate a wounded U.S. Marshall from the firefight, while Officer Weaver laid cover fire for those still trapped inside. Officers Lounge and Weaver reflected on their recognition.
"It feels very honored to be recognized by the state and by the Attorney General's office. It’s an honor," St. Petersburg Police Sergeant Karl Lounge said.
“It was a team effort, and sometimes not all the team makes it, but they were very good officers, and they’re solely missed,” Officer Douglas Weaver said.
Both were given a rousing standing ovation for their efforts.