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St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara talks about dangers law enforcement officers face

Posted at 5:05 PM, May 15, 2017

In 2017, there has been a rise in officer-involved shootings.  So far, 15 in the Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee counties compared to just six during the same time last year.

A wreath was placed outside the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office Monday.  It is Peace Officers Memorial Day, a day to remember the men and women of law enforcement who died in the line of duty.

"These heroes go to work every day and are willing to lay down their lives to protect and serve our community" said St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara.

St. Lucie County has logged seven names over the course of the past century.  Their headquarters is named after Master Deputy Steve Roberts, one of the fallen.  A bench outside honors Sgt. Gary Morales, who was killed in 2013. 

In recent days, there have been several officer-involved shooting cases. A K-9 officer was struck by a bullet during a shootout in Jupiter.

Sheriff Mascara says the job has gotten more dangerous over time.

“Criminals have gotten better armed.  They just have this no fear, no hostage; they just want to shoot to kill," said Sheriff Mascara.

The Sheriff pointed to a statistic that especially alarmed him, a 176-percent increase nationwide in ambushes.

“It’s just a terrible thought that these men and women go out thinking that without any provocation, these men and women could be killed just doing their job,” he aid.

The Sheriff adds while every year it’s important to remember, it’s also a time to remind others about the frontline dangers.