Fallen Officers

Officer Memorial Badge

This page is dedicated to the members of the Gainesville Police Department who have died in the line of duty.

To learn more about these Heroes, please go to Search for a Fallen Officer (odmp.org)


Officer Jackson Pinkston Bennett

Jackson Pinkston BennettEnd of Watch: April 27, 1936

Officer Bennett died after being bitten by a rabid dog while on patrol. Officer Bennett was attempting to capture the dog as part of a county-wide effort to get unlicensed animals off the street. He was diagnosed with rabies too late to be treated and succumbed to the illness a little over a month later. Memorial Page

Officer Shannon Stephenson

Shannon StephensonBeginning of Watch: August 11, 1975
End of Watch: June 15, 1980

Officer Stephenson was killed in the line of duty on June 15, 1980. Officer Stephenson was one of the first Gainesville Police Officers ever to be killed in the line of duty. Officer Stephenson was killed after he responded to aid other officers under fire. This page is dedicated to Officer Shannon Ray Stephenson for making the ultimate sacrifice of giving his life while attempting to protect the lives of other officers and the citizens of Gainesville. Memorial Page

Officer Scott Baird

Scott BairdBeginning of Watch: April 19, 1999
End of Watch: February 12, 2001

Officer Scott Baird was killed in the early morning hours of February 12, 2001.

At approximately 3:53 a.m., on February 12th, 2001, Officer Scott M. Baird responded to the 1900 block of NW 16th Terrace in reference to an object blocking the road.

When Officer Baird arrived on scene, he observed a large metal batting cage blocking NW 16th Terrace. Officer Baird turned on his emergency lights and then called for more assistance to move the batting cage. While waiting for assistance, a vehicle being driven by a 17-year-old male was traveling North on NW 16th Terrace and struck the batting cage, causing the cage to strike Officer Baird.

Officer Baird, 23, died as a result of being struck by the batting cage. Memorial Page

Lieutenant Corey Dahlem

Corey DahlemBeginning of Watch: February 11, 1985
End of Watch: April 4, 2007

Lieutenant Corey Dahlem was struck and killed by a drunk driver while on foot patrol during celebration ceremonies following a championship game in which the University of Florida's basketball team had won.

Lieutenant Dahlem was walking across West University Avenue, which had been closed to vehicular traffic, when a pickup truck turned onto the roadway and struck him from behind at approximately 2:30 am. The driver of the truck immediately fled in the vehicle but was boxed in a short distance away by two officers.

The driver was taken into custody and charged in connection with the incident.

Lieutenant Dahlem was transported to a local hospital in extremely critical condition. He died from his injuries 19 hours later, after being taken off of life support.

On October 4, 2007, the suspect entered a guilty plea of aggravated manslaughter of a law enforcement officer. A blood test showed that the suspect had a blood alcohol level of 0.271, more than three times the legal limit the night he struck Lieutenant Dahlem. On December 12, 2007, the suspect was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Lieutenant Dahlem served with the Gainesville Police Department for 22 years. He is survived by his wife, son, and daughter. Memorial Page

K-9 Gero

Officer Pruitt and K-9 GeroEnd of Watch: January 23, 1986

On January 23, 1986, K-9 Gero was killed in the line of duty while attempting to apprehend an armed burglary suspect.

Officer Pruitt and K-9 Gero responded to a burglary-in-progress call that was initiated by a plainclothes officer who had observed a man burglarizing a law office in Gainesville. Plainclothes and uniform officers surrounded the law office and made an announcement over a loud speaker for the suspect to surrender. Instead of surrendering, the suspect exited through a rear door of the business with a gun in his hand and began shooting at officers. Officer Pruitt released Gero in an effort to apprehend the suspect. Gero was shot twice by the burglar and succumbed to his injuries. This page is dedicated to K-9 Gero for making the ultimate sacrifice by giving his life to save the lives of others.

Officer Pruitt chose the name of "Gero," an American Indian word that means "One who hunts in shadows."

Coffee a.k.a. Romper's Chosen Copy

Officer Mike Myers and CoffeeBeginning of Watch: April 29, 1998
End of Watch: November 29, 2000

On November 29, 2000, Officer Mike Myers and Coffee were patrolling NW 13th Street on a special holiday detail. This roadway is a main thoroughfare through the City of Gainesville and extremely congested, particularly during the holiday shopping season. During their patrol, Coffee was struck by a vehicle on NW 13th Street and had to be euthanized as a result of his injuries. Coffee was born on April 30, 1998 and a Tennessee Walker.