Columbia County Public Safety Memorial set for Tuesday
By COREY ARWOOD
Less than two weeks after the shooting deaths of two deputies in neighboring Gilchrist County, generations of local officers spanning the realm of public safety will be remembered at an afternoon service set to precede National Police Week.
Florida High Patrol Lt. Patrick Riordan said the killing would undoubtedly color the proceedings, despite having occurred in a different county.
"I'll be honest with you I don't know how it can't. It appears you know that these shootings at law enforcement (are) becoming more prevalent," said Riordan.
The FHP organized the Public Safety Memorial event this year, he said. It is scheduled to be held in the fellowship hall of First Baptist Church in Lake City at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Due to an editing error, the print edition of Sunday’s Lake City Reporter gave a different date.
Riordan and other FHP officers stationed in Lake City assisted Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office in the wake of the April 19 shooting.
He was among local law enforcement who traveled to Trenton and stood with Sheriff Robert Schultz at his initial press conference hours afterward.
"When you have an incident of this significance that takes place ... everybody readily pitches in to assist in whatever way they can," said Riordan.
On Tuesday, State Troopers, police, sheriffs, deputies, conservation, corrections and forestry officers along with firefighters and paramedics who have died on duty with Columbia County connections will be recognized at the Public Safety Memorial.
He said recent public safety officers and those dating back to 1880, including a 19th century sheriff, will be remembered.
Family and friends of those who died are asked to attend the event, which is open to the public.
He emphasized public support and called what he saw along the funeral procession for the two Gilchrist deputies, "encouraging."
"I think its worth mentioning," Riordan said. "There's a lot of people out there that do support law enforcement ... it was an impressive number of people not just law enforcement but civilians as well that went down there to the funeral."