Lakeland police deal with 2nd death of officer within matter of weeks

Polk County

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – The death of Lakeland police officer Paul Dunn Thursday morning is the second loss of an officer on duty for the department in a matter of weeks.

On Dec. 4 Lakeland Police Officer Ken Foley suffered a medical episode in his patrol cruiser and passed away. The losses are very difficult for everyone in the department.

“It is indescribably horrible and emotional for every person in that police department from the janitor up to the chief,” said Jack Gillen who spent a lifetime in law enforcement and retired from the Lakeland Police Department.

Gillen knew both officers.

“Law enforcement bonds run deep, they run very deep. They are all leaning on each other now,” said Gillen who added they will continue with the work that must be done. “You have to move forward. You pick up one foot and you go back to work the next day,” said Gillen.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd knew officer Dunn who once worked for the sheriff’s office. The sheriff says for members of both agencies, it’s like losing a family member.

“That’s how those officers feel because, see we depend on each other to live. They’re our backup on these dangerous situations and they can all tell you a story where Paul backed them up or they backed Paul up,” said Judd.

Sheriff Judd says the members of both departments will receive support, but they will continue with their jobs

“They hurt personally but their professionalism will not wane. Their desire to run in when others are running out won’t change. They will always be the consummate professionals and do what’s right,” said Judd.

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