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Honors for the Fallen and New Dangers for the Living

Tom Flanigan

A solemn wreath-laying ceremony on Wednesday, May 29 at the Leon County Sheriff’s headquarters honored those deputies killed in the line of duty. At the same time, it seems today’s officers are facing an ever more dangerous work environment.

The ceremony honored Sheriff Willie Langston and Deputies Thomas Revels and Chris Smith. All died from gunfire encountered in the line of duty. Current Sheriff Walt McNeil said he supports the Second Amendment, but acknowledged the increase in civilian firepower poses a growing threat to today’s law officers.

“Our deputies and police officers in Leon County and Tallahassee are often faced with the possibility of walking into a house and being engaged with a person who has a weapon that was used in a military kind of environment,” he remarked.

As a result, McNeil said law agencies have had to up their weaponry in response. This arms race, he adds, isn’t helpful to the goal of low-key community policing.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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