Law enforcement officials gather to remember fallen officers

While not a line of duty death, the loss of Welaka Police Chief Casimir “Charlie” Piwowarski less than a year ago left a visible void during the law enforcement memorial service Thursday morning.

At the front of the Roy E. Campbell Civic Center auditorium inside Ravine Gardens State Park, a vase of white roses sat on a small table. A single candle burned in front of a photo of the longtime police chief.

“We want to honor Chief Casimir Piwowarski, or as we knew him, Chief Charlie,” said Dick Schauland, master of ceremonies. “Charlie was a big part of Putnam County and kept order in Welaka. We certainly miss him.”

Sponsored by the Ten-24 Foundation, a non profit established to provide support for Putnam County law enforcement agencies, employees and their families, the memorial service honored state law enforcement officers who died in 2016 in the line of duty.

“Today we are here to honor law enforcement,” Schauland said. “These men and women are really our heroes.”

Held on the same day as the National Day of Prayer, more than 100 community leaders, residents and law enforcement officers attended the service.

Putnam County chairman Larry Harvey read a joint proclamation honoring law enforcement and signed by Interlachen Town Council, Palatka City Commissioner, Crescent City Commission, Pomona Park Town Council, Welaka Town Council and the Board of County Commissioners.

“Law enforcement is often placed in difficult, stressful and dangerous situations,” Harvey said.

Final roll call read by Palatka Police Officer Mike Meredith was held for seven officers and one K-9

Following the roll call, audience members relocated outside as members of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office honor guard raised and then lowered the U.S. flag to half-staff. 

In memory of the officers, the honor guard performed a three-round volley prior to taps being played at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Palatka Daily News

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