Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
May 5, 2021
Fernandina Beach Mayor Mike Lednovich has proclaimed Friday, May 15, 2021, as: “PEACE OFFICERS MEMORIAL DAY”and the week of May 9, 2021, as: “NATIONAL POLICE WEEK”. He delivered the Proclamation to Fernandina Beach Police Chief Mark Foxworth at the May 4, 2021 Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) Meeting. Chief Foxworth, who was accompanied by many members of the Fernandina Beach Police force, thanked the FBCC for their support and delivered remarks to emphasize the values and commitment of law enforcement to the community, citing examples of situations officers face regularly while on duty.
The Proclamation noted that Police Chief James “Frank” Surrency was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1930 while serving the citizens of Fernandina. His was the last police death while on duty, although several Sheriff’s deputies have lost their lives on duty: Deputy Joe Robinson (1891), Chief Deputy Everett Johns (1905), and Deputy Jeremiah Mattox (1954) were all shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to violent calls for service on Amelia Island. Most recently Nassau County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Oliver lost his life in the line of duty on November 22, 2016.
In delivering his thanks for support from the FBCC and City Manager Dale Martin, Foxworth said, “We’d also like to thank the community that we serve, because we serve a community that willingly forms partnerships with us in bringing their concerns forward to us so we can work with them to make this community a safer place. I believe that the City of Fernandina Beach serves as a good local policing model. … We are thankful as a group that we can serve in this community.”
Foxworth went on to say, “We are also aware that we can always improve. We have recently adopted a new set of core values that includes partnership, integrity and respect. We encourage our officers to use these core values in the delivery of their police service so we can gain and keep the public’s trust.”
Foxworth added that the department is working with Starting Point to develop programs to help officers deal with problems of mental health, addiction and domestic abuse.
“We work in an environment that is unpredictable with situations that change every day,” he said, adding that officers must make decisions that are best for the community, the individual and “the safety of all involved.”
He thanked the City and the community for their support. The audience and FBCC rose to give the Police a standing ovation. Mayor Lednovich shook the hand of each officer present.