Department Unveils "Law Enforcement Appreciation Vehicle," Paying Tribute to Those Who Died in the Line of Duty, and Officers Who Carry on Legacy of Service
From the roof to the wheels, the Miami-Dade Police Department’s new Law Enforcement Appreciation Vehicle pays homage to the 168 officers who have died in the line of duty in Miami-Dade County, and to current officers who carry on their legacy.
The 2020 Dodge Durango Pursuit SUV is wrapped in matte black, with blue and white accents. There are several prominent design features. On the hatchback window, there are 168 stars, representing each officer who made the ultimate sacrifice, and on the rear bumper are 28 seals, of each law enforcement agency of a fallen officer. There is a concealed message that runs along the center of the roof, a vow to fallen officers, “WE HAVE IT FROM HERE 09 06.” The numbers symbolize the code that officers use daily to sign off at the end of their shift.
On the hood, there is a circular display, the image of a lion superimposed on the Stars and Stripes. Two phrases form the circumference, “IN VALOR THERE IS HOPE,” and “REMEMBER THE FALLEN.”
Both rear quarter panel windows feature the first stanza of the “Policeman’s Poem” by author John Barber, superimposed over a photograph of the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial site at Tropical Park. The stanza is “I have been where you fear to be, I have seen what you fear to see, I have done what you fear to do, All these things I have done for you.”
There are blue lights throughout the exterior of the vehicle, including lights embedded in the push bumper and on the underside. The license plate is black, with blue lettering and numerals, and there is a small sticker of an officer on bended knee affixed to the plate. The Department seal is on the driver’s door and the front passenger door, and a silhouette of an officer saluting is on both back doors. The Miami-Dade County Association of Chiefs of Police seal is on the driver’s side rear quarter, and the Police Officer Assistance Trust (POAT) seal is on the right rear quarter. POAT was founded in 1989 as a support organization of the Miami-Dade County law enforcement community, as a way to assist officers and their families in times of need. Prior to the formation of POAT, there was no entity or resource in place to provide financial support to families of fallen officers.
The silhouette on the right rear passenger door is that of Sergeant William A. Lopez, a 21-year veteran of the Department, who is assigned to the Miami-Dade Public Safety Training Institute & Research Center. “I am very humbled by it, and this vehicle is a fitting tribute to all those officers who died in the line of duty, their sacrifice will never be forgotten,” he said after the unveiling ceremony on Friday, April 28, 2023, at the Fred Taylor Headquarters Building.
The vehicle took months to create, from the lengthy planning phase, to the design phase. A committee of 20 Department personnel pored over the details. The SUV was unveiled by Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez III just in time for Law Enforcement Appreciation Month, which is May.
Director Ramirez said the car represents “The perfect product that not only honors our fallen officers but honors the families and honors our officers right now who are putting their lives on the line each and every day.”
May 12, 2023 was designated as holiday for county employees, in recognition of Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. On April 5, 2022, the Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution recognizing the holiday, on the Friday before National Police Week, from Sunday, May 14 through Saturday, May 20, 2023. The holiday is in recognition of officers for putting their lives on the line in service to the community, and for continuing to promote a safer environment and maintain order.
On Monday, May 1, 2023, through POAT’s Project HERO (Honoring Every Resting Officer), officers with the Department placed an American/Eternal Thin Blue Line flag at the final resting places of 36 law enforcement officers and agents who died in the line of duty in the County. Director Ramirez spoke with his officers before they traveled to those sites.
“This is the beginning of a tough month, we’re going to get through it together, with honor, dignity and respect, we are going to honor the families of those that we lost, 168 here in Miami-Dade County,” Director Ramirez told his officers in front of the Fred Taylor Headquarters Building. He added, “We know you’ll be out there at each grave, placing the flag and giving your love and respect from this community and this Department, because we don’t forget here, that’s one thing here in Miami-Dade County that we do not do, we are here forever.”
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