Lakeland Police Dept. unveils Fallen Heroes Memorial

By Laurie Davison, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, March 20, 2017, 9:33 PM EDT

The Lakeland Police Department held a dedication ceremony for the Lakeland Police Fallen Heroes Memorial on Monday.

  • Memorial located at Police Headquarters front entrance
  • Honors five officers killed in the line of duty
  • Memorial funded with community donations, $1 million anonymous donation

The memorial, located at the front entrance of police headquarters, honors the department's five officers who've been killed in the line of duty: Patrolman William Barnett, Patrolman Thomas Nicholson, Officer Eugene DeBerry, Officer Carl Cushman and Officer Arnulfo Crispin.

"This brings us all together," said Assistant Chief Mike Link. "The community and the police, we're woven together in one fabric so we're all supporting one another."

The centerpiece of the memorial features a life-size bronze Honor Guard sculpture standing on top of a granite backdrop, watching over the names of the fallen officers. Five glass plaques are each etched with the officer's name and photo.

The memorial also has a large glass badge, illuminated with LED lights, to serve as a reminder of those still serving.

The memorial was funded through an anonymous $1 million donation, along with community support. The foundation of the site is lined with personalized engraved bricks which were sold to help fund the project.

Pamela Axsom was in her 20's when her father, Officer Cushman, was killed. She traveled to Lakeland from her home in Charlotte, North Carolina for the unveiling.

"It was an emotional moment, because his death left a huge hole in our family," she said.

Officer Crispin was the most recent of the officers killed. He died in 2011. While his family said nothing will bring him back, they said the memorial gives them a sense of peace.

"That gives us a reminder that we're not in this alone and we don't feel the pain alone and our family is bigger than what we thought it was before this," said Crispin's sister, Officer Brenda Crispin.