JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Officer Down Memorial Page tracks officer deaths in the line of duty nationwide. Just since the first of the year, that number stands at nine.
It was just over a week ago that our area was touched by tragedy when Clay County native and former Palatka officer Sean Tuder was shot and killed in Mobile, Alabama.
Lt. Shannon Hartley, Spokesperson for the Jacksonville Lodge Fraternal Order of Police and JSO Officer, said, "There's a certain level of honor and integrity to doing the job well the tougher it gets and certainly it seems like it's been getting tougher over the last few years."
Lt. Hartley said he is heartbroken to hear about the five police officers injured in Houston, two critically injured.
Four law enforcement officers across the country have been killed by gunfire, including Mobile officer Tuder.
In January, three officers died after they were hit by cars.
Earlier this year, JSO officers Josh Wiggins and Christopher Rouselle were injured after an armed robbery suspect lead police on a chase that started in Mayport.
Lt. Hartley, an officer with JSO for the last 15 years, said he was there that night.
"I think seeing the officers in those condition, seeing the result of their courage, it was probably the most frightening thing I've experienced knowing we were that close to losing them," he said.
While officers continue to train for situations like this, it doesn't take away from the honor of serving the community. “This is not a job or a career in the traditional sense it's a calling... We continue to train, continue to improve our tactics, continue to get better and continue to everything we can to protect our communities,” Hartley added.
FOP in Jacksonville is starting a fundraiser for their members called the Fallen Officer Relief and Welfare Fund. 100% of the funds raised will go to the families who have lost someone in the line of duty, or those who are injured protecting our community.