POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – It was just over a week ago when the community lost a Lakeland police officer who died in a crash. But now, Polk County deputies are facing another issue surrounding the officer’s death… someone vandalized his memorial site.

Early Sunday morning the Polk County Sheriff’s Office received calls about vandals making a mess of the memorial for Officer Paul Dunn. Just after 3:45 a.m., deputies showed up to take pictures of the memorial located at Lake Miriam Drive and Lakeland Highland Road.

Deputies are labeling Lakeland police as the victims and if the vandals are caught, they will face charges of criminal mischief.

“We cannot understand why anyone would do this.

Officer Dunn spent almost 20 years serving our community after proudly serving our country in the United States Marine Corps.

We are thankful for those who set up the memorial in his memory and for the countless others who have shown support here locally and across the country.

Our focus remains on supporting his family and fellow officers during this time.”

Lakeland Police Department
Courtesy: Tiffany Hutto via Lakeland Police Department

News Channel 8 is working to find out how bad the memorial was left.

Officer Dunn was on his way to work when for unknown reasons he hit a concrete median on Jan. 9 and crashed.

Dunn had been with the Lakeland Police Department for five years, 12 years with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and before that, he was a US Marine.

He was laid to rest on Jan. 16. He was 50 years old.