Honoring Our Fallen Heroes

Officer Clarence K. Till

Clarence K. Till

End of Watch: 1904

On March 7, 1904, Key West tragically lost its first officer in the line of duty, Officer Clarence K. Till. Officer Till, a Spanish-American war veteran who had become a dedicated policeman, responded to a drunken disturbance call regarding a broken window at a downtown coffee shop. What started as a routine call quickly escalated into a full-blown riot when Officer Till attempted to apprehend the suspect, Herbert "Dutchy" Melbourne.

Despite the hostile mob grabbing Officer Till's gun and inflicting a deep cut across his forehead, he managed to escape and seek refuge at the home of Mayor Benjamin Douglas Trevor. Determined to restore peace, both the mayor and Officer Till armed themselves and embarked on their mission to quell the riot. Tragically, while en route, Melbourne emerged from a shadowy place and mercilessly fired a fatal bullet, assassinating Officer Till.

We honor and pay tribute to Officer Clarence K. Till, a brave and dedicated servant who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. His selfless act of bravery and his unwavering commitment to protecting our community will never be forgotten. We remember Officer Till's bravery and his indelible mark on the Key West Police Department's history. May his memory serve as a reminder of the dangers our officers face every day as they work to keep our city safe.

Officer Norman Alvin Drew

Norman Alvin Drew

End of Watch: 1975

It was a heart-wrenching incident that cut short the life of Officer Drew, who had just celebrated his 22nd birthday the week before the accident. Despite his relatively short tenure of three months with our agency, Officer Drew had already exhibited great dedication and passion for his role in serving and protecting our community.

We remember Officer Drew as a bright and enthusiastic individual who enthusiastically embraced law enforcement challenges. His commitment to public safety and his willingness to respond swiftly to assist his fellow officers will forever be admired. The loss of Officer Drew is a painful reminder of the risks our officers face daily in their line of duty. We extend our deepest condolences to Officer Drew's family, friends, and colleagues, and we will forever cherish his memory as a young officer whose life was tragically cut short while selflessly serving our community.

Detective Piskator

John Michael Piskator

End of Watch: 2006

Detective John Piskator, a dedicated member of our police department, tragically suffered a fatal heart attack while participating in physical fitness training with the agency's Special Response Team.  As the team was jogging along Duck Avenue, Detective Piskator suddenly collapsed, and his fellow officers immediately sprang into action, initiating CPR until rescue units arrived.  He was swiftly transported to Lower Keys Medical Center, but despite all efforts, he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

Only a week before the incident, Detective Piskator had achieved a significant milestone in his career by being promoted to detective.  In his tenure of just under two years with the Key West Police Department, he had proven to be a committed and accomplished officer.  Prior to joining our agency, Detective Piskator served with great distinction in the United States Army for eight years.  As a Ranger with the 82nd Airborne Division, he fearlessly served during Operations Just Cause, Desert Shield, and Desert Storm, earning several commendations, including the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, and Kuwait Liberation Medal.

Detective John Piskator leaves a legacy of service, honor, and sacrifice.  He is survived by his son and three brothers, who will forever cherish his memory and his remarkable contributions to military service and as a dedicated member of our police department.  We mourn the loss of Detective Piskator, a true hero who dedicated his life to protecting our community and upholding the values of justice and integrity.  May his courageous spirit and remarkable service never be forgotten.

Officer Funeral