Hollywood police gathered Sunday to pay their respects and honor the lives of three officers killed in the line of duty in 2021.
From there, several officers will embark on a special caravan to bring love and hope to families dealing with loss.
Around 50 officers are heading to various departments throughout the state to bring comfort and support to families who have lost an officer in the line of duty.
First stop: Vero Beach.
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“It’s a rare opportunity to be able to meet the families,” Brian Donnelly, founder of 9463 Foundation said. “It shows the families how much their loss means to us, where we never met their loved ones. We’ll ride across the state, we’ll meet with them for a few minutes, have lunch, have dinner with them, share stories.”
From Vero Beach, the motorcycle caravan will visit each department in our state where an officer has been killed in the past year.
“The appreciation is abundant, they’re so thankful that we spend the time and effort and that we care for their loved ones,” Donnelly said.
Donnelly’s organization, the 9463 Foundation, is behind the cause. It was founded after the death of Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy sergeant Chris Reyka in 2007.
Back in South Florida, officers remembered three of their own killed in the line of duty: Officer Yandy Chirino, Lt. Jon Cooke, and Lt. John Graham.
Special stories and gifts were shared with the loved ones of the fallen officers and police say this can help families heal.
“I think it is sort of a sense of closure for them,” Jeff Devlin, Hollywood Assistant Chief of Police said. “I’ll be honest with you, watching the children grow up with us really, when they’re young children, when the officers passed away, to where they are now and the support they get from this organization, it’s unbelievable to see what type of people they turn into. It’s really cool.”
In total, the ride will honor 12 fallen officers in Florida and two canines, K-9 Joker in Indian River and K-9 Zena in Cocoa Beach.