Senator Lauren Book’s Amendment Honors Fallen Officers Statewide
HB 385, a bill relating to transportation sponsored by Senator Manny Diaz Jr. (R-Hialeah) and Representative Bryan Avila (R-Miami Springs), has been signed into law by Governor DeSantis. While the primary content of this bill pertains to Miami-Dade County transportation issues, it contains a critical amendment filed by Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation) identifying all fallen Florida Highway Patrol officers who have not been recognized for their service with an honorary transportation facility designation – including those from the Orlando area.
“The brave men and women of the Florida Highway Patrol work day and night to keep our most dangerous roadways safe—sacrificing time with their own families, to protect and serve ours,” says Senator Lauren Book. “I want to thank Senator Diaz and Representative Avila for allowing this amendment to their bill to ensure those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty are honored for their bravery.”
Senator Book’s amendment creates designations for 26 officers in various counties in honor of their ultimate sacrifice in service to the people of the State of Florida, including the following from the Orlando area:
Trooper Richard Howell
Trooper Howell was in an automobile crash while in pursuit on US 441 in Orlando.
Trooper Howell had served the residents of Florida, with the Florida Highway Patrol, for 1 year. His career with FHP began February 3, 1975. He was in the 49th recruit class in Tallahassee, from May 12 to August 8, 1975. He was stationed in Orlando. At the time of his death, he was 30. He was survived by his wife, Nancy, a son, Jason.
Patrolman Leroy Bender
Patrolman Bender was investigating a traffic accident, in Sanford, when a passing car struck him and left the scene. The person driving the car later surrendered at the sheriff’s office.
Patrolman Bender had served the residents of Florida, with the Florida Highway Patrol, for 2 years. His career with FHP began February 15, 1944. He went to recruit school April 9 to April 21, 1945. He was stationed in Ocala and Sanford. At the time of his death, he was 44. He was survived by his wife, Mae.
Trooper Halley Strickland
Trooper Strickland, while pursuing a fleeing violator in Titusville, turned to avoid another vehicle and struck a tree.
Trooper Strickland had served the residents of Florida, with the Florida Highway Patrol, for 7 years. His career with FHP began August 1, 1946. He was in the 6th recruit class in Kissimmee, from September 15 to October 19, 1946. He was stationed in Deland and Cocoa. At the time of his death, he was 33.
Trooper Joseph Sawtell, Jr.
Trooper Sawtell was on patrol in Melbourne when his cruiser was struck by a car that ran a stop sign.
Trooper Sawtell had served the residents of Florida, with the Florida Highway Patrol, for 4 months. His career with FHP began May 2, 1966. He was in the 29th recruit class in Tallahassee, from May 2 to July 23, 1966. He was stationed in Melbourne. At the time of his death, he was 23. He was survived by his parents, Joseph, Sr. and Margaret.
“I am glad to team up with Senator Book to honor our fallen law enforcement officers in this legislation,” says Senator Diaz. “It’s the right thing to do.”
While the core of HB 385 relates to Miami-Dade County, Sen. Book’s amendment recognizes fallen officers from across the State of Florida.