Son of Florida officer salutes father’s patrol car after losing him to COVID-19

Florida

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — A family is in mourning after losing their father, a police officer, to COVID-19 complications, according to the Jacksonville Beach Police Department.

“I am heartbroken to announce the passing of Sergeant Daniel “Dan” Eugene Watts from COVID-19 complications,” Chief Gene Paul N. Smith said in an online statement. “He was 49 years of age.”

Watts began his career with the JBPD in 2002 as a patrol officer. He would go on work as a detective, patrol officer, and member of the department’s SWAT team.

“Dan was a decorated, veteran member of this department,” Smith said. “We are devastated.”

To honor the sergeant’s memory, the department parked Watt’s patrol car under the flag in front of its headquarters where visitors could leave flowers and pay respects.

One of the visitors to the temporary memorial site was Watt’s youngest son, Eli Watts, who saluted his father’s car Friday night.

“Eli’s mother said he wanted to see his daddy’s patrol vehicle one last time,” the police department said on Facebook. “She said he was trying to be so brave, but you can see the heartbreak on his face. With permission from his mother, we wanted to share this powerful image. We all miss you so much Sgt. Daniel Watts.

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