NORTH PORT — Sarasota County authorities from Sarasota to North Port took an hour on Tuesday morning to honor Florida police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2018.

The countywide ceremony, held in front of the North Port City Hall, drew an estimated 200 police officers, city officials and region residents.

Under dark, gray skies, the names of the 11 police officers who lost their lives in 2018 were read aloud.

Roses were placed on a wreath as the names were called.

In addition to the 11 officers, the names of three police dogs killed in the line of duty last year in Florida were also read.

“We honor those who may not return home each night so that we can return home each evening,” said North Port Mayor Chris Hanks. “We owe them everything.”

Among the music played was “Amazing Grace” and the notes of taps.

The county rotates the ceremony between different locations in the county each year.

In additional to the police on hand from throughout Sarasota County, several officers from Charlotte County and Punta Gorda were also in attendance.

A total of 163 police officers died across the country in 2018.

The ceremony was held in conjunction with Peace Officer Memorial Week.

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