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Lakeland officer laid to rest, leaving behind legacy of kindness

Polk County

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – A Lakeland police officer known for his kind heart and cheerful demeanor was laid to rest Tuesday with full honors.

Officer Ken Foley, 57, died last week after being found unresponsive in his police cruiser.

It’s believed he died from natural causes, police say. An autopsy is still pending.

“We’re going to miss his presence. We’re going to miss his authentic, the character that he had. It’s police officers like that that make this job just a little easier to endure,” said Capt. Marvin Tarver, who worked with Officer Foley for decades.

Officer Foley served as a Lakeland police officer for 29 years, mostly patrolling for north Lakeland businesses and the Lakeland Regional Health emergency room.

Courtesy Lakeland Police Department

“He would routinely take time to ask me ‘Sgt., how you doing?’ He would always come by the supervisor’s table after each briefing and he’d give each supervisor a fist pump,” said Sgt. Tye Thompson.

His colleagues say Officer Foley was a family man through and through. He was devoted to his two daughters and his wife, Shelly, who he often referred to as the love of his life.

Prior to joining Lakeland Police, Foley spent eight years with the U.S. Marine Corps.

“Thank you for being a servant to the people while still being their protector. For being that everyday local hero that comes to every shift with no idea of what the day may hold,” said Chief Ruben Garcia.

Courtesy Lakeland Police Department

His fellow officers pledge to continue his legacy at Lakeland Police Department.

“We all bring different strengths to the table. This was definitely Ken’s strength – the kind word, something I challenge each of us all to do in his memory,” said Sgt. Thompson.

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