Honoring fallen officers

The May 18 memorial service that paid tribute to those lost in the line of duty was the 50th annual observation in Marion County.

The annual Fallen Officer Memorial Service was held May 18 in Ocala. Photo by Mark Anderson, Marion County Public Relations

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Posted May 19, 2023 | Staff report

The 2023 Fallen Officer Memorial event to honor Marion County law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty was held Thursday, May 18, at the McPherson Governmental Complex on Southeast 25th Avenue in Ocala.

The memorial service honored those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect others, as well as the families of the fallen. It included prayers and addresses by local officials and chaplains for law enforcement and fire rescue organizations. The presentation of colors was given by an honor guard. The service also included the playing of taps and a helicopter flyover.

Officers pay respects during the event. Photo by Mark Anderson, Marion County Public Relations

The service took place adjacent to a permanent stone monument in front of the Tax Collector’s office, upon which is inscribed many of the names of local officers lost in the line of duty. A roll call of Marion County’s fallen officers included James George Binnicker, Perry Bostick, Burrel Dawkins, Jared Forsyth, Henry Gordon, Roscoe H. Hargett, Bill Hudson, Bill Hutson, Roscoe H. Hargett, Nathan Hattaway, Brian R. Litz, Edward Porter Jr., Chelsea Richard, Bill Rutherford, C.M. Starry M.O. Tuck, A.O. Warren, R.L. Wooten and Curtis Youngblood.

Morrey Deen served with the Ocala Police Department from 1973 until 2003 and as Ocala Chief of Police from 1995 to 2003. Deen said in a phone interview that in the early 1970s, then Ocala police chief K.C. Alvarez and Marion County Sheriff Doug Willis wanted to see a memorial set up to pay respect to those who gave their lives and be sure their sacrifice “was never forgotten.”

The memorial service was started 50 years ago, in 1973, Deen stated. An announcement was made at the opening of the event to acknowledge the landmark anniversary and the work by local law enforcement to establish the memorial.

To watch a video of the service, go to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page at FB.com/mcsoflorida/videos/2023-fallen-officer-memorial-ceremony/266680019254352/

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