Polk Co. officer's name added to memorial 80 years after his death

- A Polk County law enforcement officer's name was just added to a memorial more than 80 years after he lost his life in the line of duty.

Constable Myrle Whidden was shot on Easter Sunday, 1936. He died two days later on his 42nd birthday.

"He was a great citizen," said Bob Moore, a friend of the family. "He fought for his country, protected the people and gave his life doing it."

His story was the centerpiece of the 30th annual Polk County Peace Officers' Memorial Service in Lakeland on Thursday.

Back in the day, Whidden got a call that Smokey Herrin, a known wife beater, was at it again.

"He had no idea what he was walking into," Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said.   "He didn't even know how bad Smokey Herrin hated him. For if he did, he wouldn't have gone without a gun."

Herrin ended up shooting Whidden first in the shoulder, then in the back. Despite his injuries, Whidden was able to arrest Herrin, who eventually was convicted of first degree murder.

After the memorial service, Whidden granddaughter talked to reporters.

"To us, he was a hero growing up," said Robin Harrell. But this is something we never expected."

Whidden will be honored in Washington, D.C. next week.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • Polk Co. officer's name added to memorial 80 years after his death
  • Florida to charge road tolls again, starting Thursday
  • Forged letter, fake checks leads to Clermont woman's arrest
  • 'Museum Day Live' coming to Tampa Bay museums
  • Alert issued for Sarasota teen missing since Labor Day
  • Police search for woman who followed victim home and attacked her
  • Nanny Marissa Mowry, accused of molesting 11-year-old, is pregnant again
  • Withlacooche River expected to crest later this week
  • Crash involving Georgia deputy leads to DUI arrest
  • Assistance still available for Irma victims