Fri, May 13, 2022 12:25 PM
By By Bethany Blankley The Center Square contributor, The Center Square
(The Center Square) – As National Police Week continues, several programs to honor those in blue launched by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office are still going strong, her office said.
Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a proclamation declaring the week of May 11-17 as National Police Week. The Florida Capitol will be lit blue during the week to recognize those who serve in law enforcement today and those who’ve lost their lives in the line of duty.
“In Florida, we back the blue,” DeSantis said. “While some states talk about defunding the police, we fund the police and then some because we respect the work they do to keep all of us safe. This week, we honor the men, women, and their families who have dedicated their lives to protecting our communities.”
In addition to DeSantis designating the week’s status and signing into law the strongest law enforcement recruitment bill in the nation last month, Moody has also launched several programs to support those in law enforcement.
She launched the Back the Blue campaign, which highlights the work of law enforcement officers, citizens and organizations taking steps to forge positive relationships in their communities.
She also created the Thin Line Tribute last May to recognize “the courageous and often thankless work of front-line law enforcement officers.”
Moody’s visited seven agencies so far through the Thin Line Tribute program to thank front-line officers. She visited the Vero Beach Police Department last month, which is known “for working with local restaurants and businesses to reduce nuisance crimes and maintain a safe environment for customers, residents and guests,” her office says.
“As the wife of a law enforcement officer, I know personally the amount of care and commitment that goes into this profession,” Moody said when she launched the initiative. “As the dangers surrounding this job seem to increase by the day, I believe it is imperative that we show our law enforcement community just how thankful we are for their service.”
She also created the Be A Florida Hero initiative to make it easier for those interested in becoming a law enforcement officer to learn about different agencies, search open positions and find contact information to apply for available jobs.
Moody also announced a near-doubling increase in award money for anonymous tips made to the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers in murder cases that lead to an arrest. The increase takes the maximum allowable award amount from $5,000 to $9,500 with the goal of increasing community participation in solving murders.
Moody’s encouraging Floridians to support law enforcement, including by reporting suspicious activity. In October 2020, Florida became the first state to implement a statewide cell phone tip line for citizens to anonymously report crimes.
When citizens call **TIPS, in addition to routing their calls to the local Crime Stoppers line, a smartphone application link is sent to their phones enabling them to download Crime Stopper’s free app, P3 Tips.
Citizens are encouraged to report crimes by calling 911, or by anonymously texting **TIPS (8477) on a mobile device.
DeSantis’ and Moody’s efforts come after more than double the number of Florida police officers were killed in the line of duty in 2020 than they were in 2019. They also came after more police officers nationwide died in 2021 than in any previous year that fatalities were recorded, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reported.
By last March, Florida officers were increasingly being killed “at the hands of violent attacks,” Moody said, with Florida being “the deadliest state in the nation for felonious attacks against law enforcement officers” in 2021.
In 2021, unprovoked attacks against officers continued to outpace all other circumstances of felonious officer deaths, the FBI reported.
“Every felonious attack on a law enforcement officer, especially by gunfire, is disturbing regardless of the circumstances,” the FOP said in its report. “Officers are always susceptible to life-threatening attacks and therefore must always be vigilant and maintain the highest level of situational awareness. In most cases, officers are able to quickly assess situations, recognize threats, and take adequate defensive actions. Tragically, not every threat can be seen or mitigated.”
Last year, there were 617 total line of duty deaths nationwide, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
In the last roughly 100 years, according to the data, there have been 920 line of duty deaths in Florida. Nearly half were killed by gunfire. The next greatest number combined died in vehicle-related deaths, including crashes, being struck by a vehicle, or as a result of vehicular pursuit or assault.