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Sanibel Police Officer Anthony Neri remembered in bricklaying ceremony

The community and first responders honored a Sanibel police officer who died in the line of duty.

During a training drill in May, Officer Anthony Neri collapsed but his fellow officers refuse to let his memory fade away.

A brick is now in place bearing the name of Officer Neri, who dedicated 30 years of his life to serving the people of Southwest Florida and his native New Jersey.

During Friday’s ceremony, people stood silently in remembrance to pay tribute.

He’s the 41st fallen officer honored by the Southwest Florida Public Service Academy.

Sanibel Police Chief William Dalton called him “a mentor to a lot of our younger officers,” adding, “he was exactly the kind of officer we need.”

Officer Neri comes from a family dedicated to public service. His wife is a former dispatcher, his son currently a dispatcher in New Jersey.

“I think it’s important anytime someone dedicated their life to a profession and someone ends up losing their life in service to the community so it’s important to honor that.” Dalton said.

Southwest Florida Public Service Academy Director Todd Everly said during the ceremony, “Today is very important for the family to understand that at the academy we won’t forget the person who died in the line of duty throughout Southwest Florida.”

After the chief and Neri’s wife took one last look at the brick placed in the memorial, the chief offered this final thought, “We’re still suffering and I’ve said to our officers before this has been like a wound to us. We are healing from it but we’ll never be the same.”

Anthony Neri. Gone but not forgotten.

Reporter:Nicole Gabe
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