14 fallen officers honored in Collier County during National Law Enforcement Week

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
A highway patrolman salutes the memorials made during a ceremony for 14 fallen officers in Southwest Florida at a service hosted by Collier County Sheriff’s Office at First Baptist Church of Naples in North Naples Thursday, May 13, 2021. Credit: WINK News.

Families gathered during National Law Enforcement Week to honor 14 fallen officers from Southwest Florida.

A memorial and candlelight service was hosted by Collier County Sheriff’s Office at First Baptist Church of Naples in North Naples Thursday night for the local officers who died in the line of duty.

Among those honored was Sgt. Steven Dodson, who died in the line of duty in 2017. Life without her son is still tough on mother Phyliss Dodson Martin.

“A sudden death is not just taking a whole in your heart,” Phyliss said. “It’s taking a hole in your life.”

Sgt. Dodson worked in law enforcement for more than 20 years in Collier County until a heart attack ended his watch.

Phyliss says her son always dreamed to be a police officer.

“As a young little boy, he directed traffic in our street,” Phyliss said. “I got him a vest. He had orange gloves, garden gloves, and a police hat and he would do imaginary traffic, but then, he would try to stop the neighbors.”

Phyliss and other family know the hardships of having a loved one in law enforcement.

“You don’t sleep well on the nights,” Dodson said.

“It takes special people to do this job,” Carmen Dimays said.

Family of fallen officers lit candles after fellow police officers, deputies and others bowed heads for a moment of silence and prayer.

“I think this is just amazing thing that the sheriff’s office does for family,” said.

During a speech, Sheriff Kevin Rambosk says 2020 was the second deadliest year for law enforcement personnel.

Although the fallen heroes can’t be brought back, their families and fellow officers salute them for their sacrifice they made to this community.

“It’s an honor to know he was honored,” said Phyliss of her son, Sgt. Dodson.

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