FORT MYERS, Fla. — On July 28th, 2018, Fort Myers Police Officer Adam Jobbers-Miller died after being shot in the line of duty. To mark the one year since he took his last breath, Fox 4 is honoring his ultimate sacrifice, and taking a deeper look at how his death has impacted the Fort Myers Police Department, and what's changed.
We're also looking into how line of duty deaths like Adam's are impacting law enforcement as a whole.
"Adam died doing what he loves," Fort Myers Police Sgt. Domonic Zammit said. "Adam was happy doing this. He loved his job."
"Adam had no fear. We would go to calls and he was always getting foot chases, chasing bad guys, putting people in jail," Fort Myers Police Sgt. Glenn Eppler said.
Adam's final call was a foot chase -- chasing a bad guy and putting him in jail. But a week later, Adam took his last breath.
"It’s impacted the whole entire agency all together, and it’s going to be awhile before we all heal from all this,” Sgt. Zammit said. "It gives a little a what our job really is, and how quickly it can end. It makes us be more safety-concerned."
Sgt. Zammit said as an agency, after Adam died, they went over what happened, but ultimately, as far as response goes, nothing could have been different that night.
"We wouldn't have done anything different that night," he said.
That's just the reality of the job. It can be really dangerous.
"We won’t let our officers go to calls alone. We used to have officers who would say 'I’ll advise when I get there,' and this and that, but we told them 'We don’t advise. If you don’t have backup, you don’t go.' No matter how minor it might seem, the officers never go alone," Sgt. Eppler said.
Dr David Thomas spent 20 years on the police force. He now teaches criminal justice at Florida Gulf Coast University. He says preparation is key, especially as the job continues to see more violence.
"Violence against officers has just taken off," he said.
And taking a look at law enforcement as a whole, it has a huge impact.
"The numbers are down," Dr. Thomas said.
He said fewer people are becoming police officers. He used his old department, Gainesville Police, as an example.
"Where our academy used to run classes of 40 students, they're running classes of 20," Dr. Thomas said.
He said they paid starting officers between $35,000-40,000.
"And I said ‘So you can’t get people?’ ‘Nope.’ There’s these warehouses out there, so I said ‘How much does the warehouse start out?’ ’$31,000 and there’s no danger.’ So that kind of gives you an idea," Dr. Thomas said.
At the Fort Myers Police Department, Sgt. Zammit said he keeps Adam close. He has his badge number hanging in his office, and Adam's picture in his vest.
"We all know this is the sacrifice we make in law enforcement. Each and every single one of us, when we put the badge and the uniform on, we know the ultimate sacrifice — we could lose our lives," he said.
To see our other coverage honoring Officer Adam Jobbers-Miller in the one year since his death, click here.