WINDERMERE — “How sad is it that we can walk from one area where an officer is memorialized to another area where an officer is memorialized … literally on the (same) lot?” Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn asked.
Bruhn referred to Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Pine and Windermere Police Officer Robbie German, who were shot and killed Feb. 11, 2014, and March 22, 2014, respectively, within about one-half mile of one another near South Apopka-Vineland Road (County Road 435), not far from Olympia High School.
Moreover, the officers knew each other and worked together regularly.
“There was definitely a relationship, because Deputy Pine would back up our officers, and our officers would back him up,” Bruhn said. “This really just became available because the (Orange County) Board of County Commissioners actually moved forward with setting a procedure to put the roadway in. I can’t speak for the county, but I believe this may be the first two individuals that are receiving the recognition.”
This is under the Orange County Memorial Roadway Program, which county commissioners enacted only a bit more than two months ago, Bruhn said.
Roadway dedications will occur Sept. 14 within a small strip of Conroy Windermere Road at Windermere’s eastern edge. Pine’s will occur near the intersection with South Apopka-Vineland Road — the northeast corner of The Grove Shopping Center — and then German’s will be near the intersection with Horizon Circle — the northwest corner of the shopping center.
“Scott Pine’s is going to be at 8; ours is going to be at 9 — we just decided to move them together,” Windermere Police Chief Dave Ogden said. “All of the families know each other real well; we get along … so I think that works best, anyway.”
The ceremonies will be relatively short, but officials are preparing for large crowds, Ogden said.
“It’s actually going to be on the roadway,” Ogden said. “We’ve gotten permission to block this roadway off … in and out of the (shopping center), and we’re going to have officers there to direct traffic, so the only lane of traffic that’s going to be closed is the deceleration lane.”
The cutoff on that roadway will be about 80 yards for safety, turning a two-lane piece of roadway into one by temporarily blocking the turn lane, although drivers will be able to turn from the remaining lane into the shopping center.
“That time of the morning, it really shouldn’t have any kind of traffic flow,” Ogden said. “I don’t anticipate any problems, but we’re going to have officers stationed here also to assist.”
Amid turbulent relations for some U.S. police forces with their communities, Ogden said the appreciation Bruhn and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs have shown with respect to Pine and German has been refreshing.
“I give the county kudos, too, because typically government works slow, and they came up with … a protocol to kind of allow this to happen as a memorial sign,” Ogden said. “I think it was a smart way, because renaming a road is just such an arduous process — it’s typical government red tape — but they really have … found a way to expedite the process, and it just proves that we can do that.”
For Pine’s ceremony, his wife, Bridget, is scheduled to speak, as well as Jacobs and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, Ogden said. Ogden, Bruhn and Tim German, Robbie’s father, will speak at the German ceremony, Ogden said.
The Windermere Town Council, Windermere Police Deputy Chief Jennifer Treadwell and District 1 Orange County Commissioner S. Scott Boyd also are scheduled to attend, Bruhn said. Bruhn said the departments’ honor guards had been working to coordinate something, too.
Parking will be available in The Grove Shopping Center.