As Chief Robert Hardwick took office with the St. Augustine Beach Police Department, he along with his fellow officers are looking to continue a tradition of honoring St. Augustine Beach's Deputy Marshal Ronald Alfred Parker.
Parker was killed during his patrol shift shortly after midnight Jan. 12, 1975, as he was investigating a suspicious vehicle in the area.
The suspect in the shooting was located and subsequently shot after a pursuit involving deputies. Thomas Edward Desherlia, then 30, was hospitalized for a short time and released.
Desherlia was convicted in April 1975 of first-degree murder, aggravated assault and carrying a concealed firearm. Desherlia has been eligible for parole on four separate occasions, yet all motions for parole were denied. Desherlia will not be eligible for another parole hearing until 2019.
Parker served with St. Augustine Beach for five years and as a deputy with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office for two years. He also served his country for four years in the U.S. Navy.
He is survived by Brenda Parker, who along with Hardwick, chose to focus attention to fallen law enforcement officers at a ceremony Friday morning.
In 2012, 126 officers were killed in the line of duty in the United States and a total of five died in the line of duty in the state of Florida.
The men and women of the St. Augustine Beach Police Department said they continue to honor those who died tragically in the line of duty. As a part Friday morning's event, Officer David Tiller spoke about the dangers that law enforcement officers face on a daily basis and how they come together to honor fallen officers and praise the community for supporting law enforcement.
In a continuing effort to focus on law enforcement deaths and pay tribute to Parker, the family has established the Officer Ron Parker Memorial Endowed Scholarship to provide financial assistance to Florida students enrolled in public administration, pre-law programs, or those seeking a criminology minor.