Collier County finalizing plans for its first fallen officer’s memorial

Published: January 26, 2022 5:25 PM EST
Updated: January 26, 2022 5:48 PM EST

Fallen Officers, an organization based in Collier County, is raising money to build a new fallen officer memorial in Southwest Florida.

The project is expected to pass with ease when commissioners hear about it in two weeks.

One of the officers who would be honored at the memorial is late Collier County Sergeant Steven Dodson, who was so much more than a deputy to his loved ones.

Larry Wilcoxson, a friend of Sergeant Dodson, said, “he was a man of just integrity. He was a teacher. He was a preacher. He was a comedian. He was everything pretty much more than a police officer. And I really wish more law enforcement officers can be like Steven.”

On Tuesday, the 20-year veteran’s family and friends gathered in the Collier County Commission chambers to officially name the baseball field at Immokalee Community Park after the Dodson.

Dodson’s mother, Phylis Dodson, said, “yes, I miss him a lot. But he left a lot of things, and people still call and remind me of something good he did.”

Collier County plans to honor Dodson and 12 others who died in uniform. The county’s first-ever fallen officer’s memorial is set to be built in Sugden Park in East Naples.

“And this is what prompted me to have something here because I necessarily can’t always go to the memorial in Miami,” said  Rosemary Zore, the founder of the Fallen Officers Foundation.

She knows all about losing a loved one in the line of duty. “My father was Robert Zore. He was in Miami-Dade police officer, and he was killed in the line of duty when I was seven years old on December 25, 1983. And you know, that really… It’s something that you’d learn to live with. But you know, obviously, you never forget.”

Zore hopes that soon, she and everyone else who has lost someone in the line of duty will have a place to reflect and honor their fallen officer.

The Fallen Officers Foundation hopes to break ground on the memorial in May and complete the project in November. Before that can happen, it first needs to be approved by Collier County commissioners.