Lakeland honors five fallen police officers

- They are set in stone forever. Lakeland honored its five fallen police officers with an unveiling Monday night of their memorial park.

The name on the statue is "A. Hero."

Loved ones of Lakeland's five officers killed in action all say their pain has never gone away.

"Death is not easy no matter how it comes," said Ofc. Brenda Crispin, whose brother Arnulfo, was killed in 2011.

"It gets to you, you will never forget it," said Retired Lt. Andy Yevchak. "Ever."

The lives of officers William Barnett, Thomas Nicholson, Eugene Deberry, Carl Cushman and Arnulfo Crispin, killed between 1932 and 2011, will finally have a single place where they'll be remembered for all time.

"It gets easier as we continue to see the love and support from the community," said Brenda Crispin.

Thanks to charity golf tournaments, donations from employees and a $1 million anonymous donation, the department unveiled a statue below the words, respect, honor, remember, surrounded by plaques describing each of the five officers' deaths.

"That gives us a reminder that we are not in this alone, and we don't feel the pain alone, and our family is bigger than what we thought of before this."

Lieutenant Andy Yevchak interrogated the suspect who shot Officer Cushman in 1980, and says everyone in Lakeland should stop by to reflect.

"I want them to think about the police officers, show the support, they need the support. And the backing of the community," said Yevchak.

The hope is to never add to the number on the plaque.

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