On May 19, 2023, the community paid tribute to those brave men and women in law enforcement who have fallen in the line of duty. The annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service was held at Bayview Park in Key West.
Hosted by the Key West Police Department and the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, the ceremony included a traditional laying of the wreath, Taps, and a 21-gun salute.
Bishop Derrick Anderson gave the invocation. Key West Vice-Mayor Samuel Kaufman read the City of Key West proclamation recognizing National Police Week and the Memorial. County Commissioner Jim Scholl read the county's proclamation. Then, MCSO Capt. David Smith and KWPD Capt. Randy Smith read the names of the officers lost in the line of duty in Monroe County.
Nationally, 246 officers died in the line of duty in 2022. In Florida, seven officers were killed in the line of duty. Monroe County did not lose an officer in the line of duty in 2022.
"Our community has been blessed for another year in not adding names to the national roster of lost lives," said Key West Police Captain Randy Smith. "And we honor those members of the Key West Police Department and the Monroe County Sheriff's Office who, in years past, made the ultimate sacrifice so we could be here today."
The names of Keys officers who have died in the line of duty were read as a special remembrance during the ceremony:
• MCSO Deputy Frank Adams was shot in 1901 while attempting to arrest a disorderly man.
• KWPD Officer Clarence Till, killed in 1904 with his own gun while handling a disturbance call.
• MCSO Deputy Guy Bradley, a Game Warden shot in 1905 by a poacher.
• KWPD Officer Norman Drew, killed in 1975 in a motorcycle accident.
• MCSO Deputy David Cormier, killed in 1989 in an automobile accident.
• MCSO Deputy Michael Alexander, killed in 1998 in an automobile accident.
• KWPD Detective John Piskator, died in 2006 as a result of a heart attack.
• MCSO Deputy Robin Tanner, killed in 2007 in an automobile accident.
• MCSO Deputy Nick Pham, killed in 2008 in an automobile accident.
• MCSO Deputy Melissa Powers, killed in 2010 in an automobile accident.
Monroe County Sheriff's Office Capt. David Smith praised the officers who put their lives on the line each and every day.
“We also pay a very special tribute to the surviving family members who are still with us today," he added. "I want to encourage everyone to keep telling the stories of our fallen heroes so their light will always shine."
In the photo from L to R: Bishop Derrick Anderson, Key West Vice Mayor Sam Kaufman, KWPD Capt. Randy Smith, MCSO Capt. David Smith, and Monroe County Commissioner Jim Scholl.