Law enforcement honored at Bradenton memorial service

BRADENTON -- Government officials, law enforcement officers and community members gathered in the courtyard near the court house today in memory of fallen officers.

Following a welcoming statement and invocation given by Karl Holsberg, Manatee County Sheriff's Office chaplain, the Bradenton Honor Guard performed the presentation of colors.

The Rev. Ben Wallace sang the national anthem and Manatee Sheriff Brad Steube led the pledge of allegiance.

An emotional Mayor Wayne Poston spoke of his close friend Al Hogle, Longboat Key police chief, who died in a motorcycle incident Monday.

Poston asked Gene Gallo, vice mayor, to fulfill his duty to proclaim the week of May 13 through May 20, 2012 Law Enforcement Week in the City of Bradenton. And John Chappie, county commissioner, proclaimed May 13 through 19 the Manatee County Law Enforcement Week.

Ed Brodsky, chief assistant state attorney in Manatee County, was the keynote speaker.

Brodsky reminded those in attendance of the importance to "reflect upon, remember and give thanks" to those in law enforcement, past and present.

He shared statistics regarding those who have died in the field, totaling 19,000 nationally. Last year 167 died in the U.S., including 13 in Florida, he said.

So far this year, Florida leads the nation in law enforcement fatalities, with three of the 37 overall deaths taking place in the state.

"This trend is unacceptable," Brodsky said. "We must not condone nor tolerate law enforcement officers being harmed."

Brodsky also thanked state Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, who was in attendance, for sponsoring House Bill 947, which enhances the sentencing for convicted felons possessing firearms.

The service continued with a memorial roll call of fallen officers in Manatee County. Those honored included:

Marshall Joe Terry, who served Palmetto until Sept. 21, 1897;

Constable Barnie A. Cumbia, who served Manatee County until Feb. 25, 1934;

Officer Steve Bennett, who served with the Bradenton Police Department until Feb. 7, 1934;

Constable Shirley Dewey Smith, who served Manatee County until June 4, 1950;

Officer Carl W. Cox, who served with the Bradenton Police Department until Aug. 8, 1970;

Sgt. John C Baxter, who served with the Florida Highway Patrol until Oct. 2, 1985;

Trooper Jeffery D. Young, who served with the Florida Highway Patrol until Aug. 18, 1987;

Detective Herbert W. Grimes, who served with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office until November 1987.

A wreath of flowers was placed in the law enforcement memorial in the courtyard.

The sheriff's office Honor Guard presented the 21-gun salute while Dan Suca performed "Taps."

The Highland Pipers followed with a performance of "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes.

The Rev. Bill Pearson of the sheriff's office district shared a benediction.

The annual service, which first took place in 1987, is sponsored by Manatee Lodge 70 Fraternal Order of Police.