PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Local law enforcement prepares to honor an Okaloosa County Sheriff Deputy who lost his life over the weekend.
Every day law enforcement puts on the uniform is a day they put their lives on the line. The men and women in blue know they may be called on to make the ultimate sacrifice while on duty.
“You never know when that call’s going to come when it’s going to be in your zone, and you’re one minute away from an active shooter situation or domestic violence situation, or an armed robbery in progress,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said.
Each agency tries to prepare officers and deputies for an incredibly dangerous situation. Sheriff Ford said the profession is constantly evolving to meet new threats.
“Any day we put on the uniform, we don’t know what we face,” Sheriff Ford said. “You know, a lot of times it’s long periods of boredom interrupted by periods of terror or very intense situations where we have to respond to those situations.”
One of those situations happened on Christmas Eve in the Panhandle.
An Okaloosa County Sheriff’s deputy was killed while responding to a domestic violence call. Corporal Ray Hamilton was a five-year veteran of the Okaloosa County Sheriffs Office.
Investigators said the suspect started shooting from inside the house when he shot and killed Corporal Hamilton.
“We have people at the Sheriff’s office that knew him,” Sheriff Ford said. “It strikes us very hard because we realize that every time we put on a uniform and go out to protect the public, something like that could happen.”
Sheriff Ford said the simple reason people become police officers is to help the people in their community.
“You see, we see people on the absolute worst day of their lives, and we have the ability both our training and experience, but also our heart and our compassion to help people on the worst day of their lives,” Sheriff Ford said. “There’s not a day that goes by that one of these deputies out here has not made a difference.”
Corporal Hamilton will be buried in Fort Walton Beach on Saturday.