A Hero’s Goodbye – Deputy Eric Oliver Laid To Rest

Eric Oliver laid to rest

Hero Eric Oliver

A Hero’s Goodbye – Deputy Eric Oliver Laid To Rest

Fernandina Beach, FL- Deputy Sheriff Eric Oliver was tragically struck by a car while chasing a suspect on foot last week. Unfortunately, Deputy Oliver did not survive. Today, he was laid to rest.

Many officers will retire from their chosen career without ever being faced with a true life or death situation. What most will experience though, is the unexpected death of a colleague or peer. Deputy Oliver’s death was both unexpected and tragic. It sent ripples through the local law enforcement community.

Officers who attended the academy with him, took various training courses with him, or met him through mutual aid requests, all now have an empty spot in their hearts for him. It is the ever-present reminder that the profession is very dangerous and accidents can kill as fast as any felonious act.

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Photo courtesy of Coastal Florida Police & Fire Pipes & Drums

A huge thank you to Coastal Florida Police & Fire Pipes & Drums for this picture of them honoring Deputy Oliver’s memory at his services.

Ingrained in the minds of every officer who has experienced a police funeral, are the sights and sounds associated with them: police and fire vehicles stretching for blocks around the venue, hundreds of law enforcement officers and firefighters who did not even know him/her in attendance to pay respects, photos of the officer and family adorning the walls of the church, and somber conversation and weeping echoes throughout the halls.

After a heart-wrenching eulogy by friends, co-workers, and family, the procession moves toward the place of internment. Traffic comes to a stand-still as civilians stop to pay their respects to the fallen officer, children line the streets waving American flags, and for that one brief moment, everyone knows how dangerous the job is.

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Police funerals, as with most uniform-type funerals, are stark in their finality. The color-guard presents the flag of the nation to a startling 21-gun salute which brings more tears. The soft wail of the bugle and bagpipes fade into Amazing Grace and then Taps. More tears follow.

The last, and most heart-wrenching, event is the final radio call from headquarters. The unanswered plea of dispatch trying to raise the unit one more time. Then, they check him/her off the radio for the last time.

Today, just as all who have gone before him, Deputy Oliver’s family will say their final goodbye. His child will long for one more kiss, one more hug, even one more argument just so that he would still be here. Rest easy Deputy Oliver, we have the watch from here.

A special thanks to Officer L. for providing some of the photos for this article.

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Deputy Eric Oliver's patrol car

Deputy Eric Oliver’s patrol car