Florida Police Officer Collapses, Dies | MassCops

Florida Police Officer Collapses, Dies

Discussion in 'Line of Duty Death News' started by kwflatbed, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. kwflatbed

    kwflatbed MassCops Angel Staff Member


    Avon Park Police Department

    Sgt. Marc Wilbur

    Highlands Today, Sebring, Fla.

    AVON PARK, Fla. -- Police Sgt. Marc Wilbur fell unconscious and later died about 9 a.m. Thursday, according to Avon Park Police Cmdr. Mike Rowan.
    Wilbur, 43, began his shift at about 6 a.m. and was on duty in the Winn-Dixie shopping plaza, accompanied by a police officer trainee, said Rowan on Friday.
    Wilbur slipped into unconsciousness and the trainee called emergency dispatch. He was transported by Highlands County Emergency Medical Services to Florida Hospital Heartland Division, where he was pronounced dead.
    Wilbur was a 12-year veteran of the force.
    "He started here in 1996, the year I started," said Rowan. "We came up through the ranks together. He was truly an inspiration to all of us. Law enforcement was his passion"
    Wilbur was promoted to sergeant in May 2007, wrote Police Chief Matthew P. Doughney in a news release.
    "Prior to serving the citizens of our great state, Sgt. Wilbur faithfully served the citizens of the state of Massachusetts as a police officer with the Falmouth Police Department," Doughney wrote.
    Since 1993, Wilbur served the citizens of Frostproof as a police officer and served as a deputy sheriff with the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.
    "Wilbur dedicated his life to serving others and his career spanned a total of nearly 20 years, Doughney wrote. "During his tenure with the police department Sgt. Wilbur was instrumental in the development and training of the police department's K-9 program.
    "A distinguished K-9 handler, Sgt. Wilbur was a certified K-9 instructor, and during his assignment to our department's K-9 unit ? he received numerous awards with his canine partners for their teamwork, attentiveness and dedication.
    At the time of his death, Wilbur was assigned to the patrol division where he supervised his squad of patrol officers as well as the field training of newly hired police officers.
    "Sgt. Wilbur's unwavering dedication to the community coupled with his passion for law enforcement has left a legacy for other members of the law enforcement profession to follow," wrote Doughney.
    Wilbur is survived by his father, Willard, his brothers Jeffrey and Michael and his son Adam, 7.
    "Please keep the Wilbur family in your thoughts and prayers," wrote Doughney. "Additional information will be released regarding services for Sgt. Wilbur."
    Highlands County Sheriff Susan Benton offered to cover the city for the remainder of the day on Christmas so the squad could mourn and not have to work, said Sheriff's Lt. Jess Purvis.
    "I've known Marc since he worked up there," said Purvis, who like Wilbur, also handled K-9's in his career. "He was always very cordial and helpful to assist us as an agency. He helped us many times in pursuits. He backed up our officers.
    "As a trainer, he helped us in getting our multi-purpose dog unit started. He was a great help to our handlers. He was just a real likeable guy and an avid dog lover."
    In 2006, Wilbur and his 7-year-old K-9 partner Ivan were officially declared the cream of the crop, after beating out more than 50 other K-9 teams from across the country.
    K-9 teams from as far away as the Bahamas trained and competed in Daytona from Nov. 6-10, 2006, in an annual Bomb and Narcotics Detection Seminar, according to a prior report.
    Ivan was a four-year K-9 veteran and had to be retired due to health reasons.
    In 2004 Wilbur and Ivan took second place in the National Drug Detection Seminar, put on by the Southern Hills Kennels Inc., in Daytona.
    Prior to handling Ivan, Wilbur handled a well known K-9 partner named Sando, and was credited with numerous drug arrests.

    Funeral Arrangements
    Visitation for Sgt. Wilbur will be held Tuesday, Dec. 30 at Stephenson-Nelson Funeral Home, 111 E. Circle St., Avon Park, Fla. The visitation for family members is from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and the public is invited from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    Funeral will be held Wednesday, Dec. 31 at 12 p.m. at Union Congregational Church, 106 N. Butler Ave., Avon Park, Fla.
    Internment will follow at Bouganvillea Cemetery.

    Story From: McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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