Wives rally for law enforcement in Lakeland

- Police officers and their wives gathered in front of the Lakeland Police Department to show support for law enforcement across the country.

It was a rally staged by the group, "Wives of Law Enforcement Officers of Central Florida," which says their husbands need all the support they can get after several officers have been ambushed over the last several months.

For Alysia Cortes and her husband Carlos, an officer with the Lakeland Police Dept., the feeling of fear is highlighted by the panic they felt the night in 2011 when close friend and fellow Lakeland cop, Arnulfo Crispin, was killed.

"I was five months pregnant, and (Carlos) had to suit up in moments and rush out the door," she said. "I didn't know he would be coming home or not."

Carlos Cortez says he keeps in constant communication with his wife throughout the workday.

"Even if I am busy, every few minutes at least, I try to send her a text to say I am OK."

Officers say the feeling of imminent danger has increased, even as the National Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial fund says the number of officers shot and killed at work has gone down year over year, from 36 in 2014 to 28 in 2015.

"Everything is coming out more now on social media, and the media itself," Cortes explained. "For me the way to combat that is to keep doing what I do, keep doing what I love to do."

Organizers say the wives of law enforcement officers have become active on social media.

When something potentially serious happens, they support one another, and share information in hopes of calming each other's worst fears.

"My wedding ring is the best symbol I have of him with me at all times," said Alysia Cortes.

One officer has died in the line of duty in Florida this year.

Jared Forsyth, 33, of the Ocala Police Department was killed in April by accidental gunfire.

Last year, there were five killed in Florida.
 

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