10 YEARS LATER: Remembering Robbie German

The town of Windermere hosted a remembrance ceremony for Windermere Police Officer Robert “Robbie” German, who was killed in the line of duty March 22, 2014.

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners unveiled a roadway sign tribute to officer Robert “Robbie” German in 2015.
The Orange County Board of County Commissioners unveiled a roadway sign tribute to officer Robert “Robbie” German in 2015.
Courtesy photo
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It was 3:59 a.m. the morning of March 22, 2014, when Windermere Police Chief Dave Ogden received the call. 

Officer Robert “Robbie” German joined the Windermere Police Department in 2008.
Courtesy photo

Windermere police officer Robert “Robbie” German, 31, was shot and killed at the southeast corner of Horizon Circle and Conroy-Windermere Road.

It was a moment Ogden will never forget. It was a moment people across the nation will never forget.

On Friday, March 22, the town of Windermere hosted a remembrance ceremony to honor German’s memory and unforgettable sacrifice.

Ogden took to Facebook that morning to share his thoughts.

“Ten years ago, we were saying, ‘I can’t believe this happened,’” he wrote. “Today, we say, ‘I can’t believe it has been 10 years.’ Robbie’s death has left an indelible mark on each of our lives. At the first year’s memorial, I shared that we each had a decision to make: whether this tragedy would leave us better or bitter. One of those options steals the selfless sacrifice that Robbie made. The other option honors his legacy. We faced a choice to become better officers, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, co-workers, supervisors, and leaders. We faced the choice to reflect on what was most important in our lives and always strive to let others know how much they were appreciated and loved. We honor Robbie by becoming better at what we do each day.”


German, who was unmarried and did not have children, served as a Windermere officer for more than five years. He was born in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, and moved to Florida at age 5.

He grew up in Sanford and Lake Mary and became a year-round soccer player, progressing to club select/travel teams during his middle and high school years.

German graduated in 2001 from Lake Mary High School and received an athletic scholarship to attend South Georgia College, where he studied business.

Following work in airport operations, involving security and interaction with local police departments, German realized his growing interest in law enforcement and decided to attend the police academy at Seminole State College.

Officer Robert "Robbie" German called the Windermere Police Department his family.
Courtesy photo

German joined the Windermere Police Department Dec. 19, 2008.

Since the loss of German, the community has come together to honor his memory in myriad ways. 

German’s name was inscribed on a new piece of workout equipment at the Roper YMCA, and the Windermere post office was renamed after him. Softball games and spring, summer, fall, and St. Patrick’s Day festivals all have been hosted in honor of his memory.

The WPD also created the Windermere Police Foundation, which has helped hundreds of police officers and citizens bridge the gap between law enforcement and community partners.  

“Ten years ago, Robbie chose this police department,” Ogden wrote on Facebook. “He was excited about its new direction and the possibilities for the future. The team we have created today, the beautiful building, and the awards and accolades are part of his dreams. Robbie is as much a part of the culture and character today as he was those days 10 years ago — I would submit even more. Ten years ago, he was the first to embrace our ethos of honor, integrity and service. Little did I know, at that time, that his legacy would be the ultimate sacrifice.

“Robbie has left such an impact on my life,” he wrote to the German family and friends. “I am sorry for your loss, and my greatest gift is to honor him by becoming a better man, husband, father and leader to the men and women I get the opportunity to serve. This is the legacy that your son has left. This is why we honor him and his sacrifice. … May He bless and watch over our officers who are willing to sacrifice everything.”

Windermere Mayor Jim O’Brien also shared a few words on Facebook.

“Ten years ago this morning, I received a call that Officer German had been shot while patrolling the town of Windermere,” he wrote. “It was 4 a.m., and there were more questions than answers, but it was clear that our little town and police department had just lost its innocence. Today, and every day, we remember Officer German, his family, fellow officers and friends. While we miss him, we are proud of our Windermere Police Department and the role that Officer German’s legacy plays in our commitment to excellence, integrity and service. As mayor, I wish peace for Robbie’s family and our entire community, and I pledge that Windermere will never forget the sacrifice of Officer Robbie German.”


At the ceremony, chaplain Wes Beacham welcomed attendees and opened with a prayer.

“As I was driving over here today, I was thinking about the life of Robbie,” he said. “Some of you guys have met Robbie, and some of you have not met Robbie. I am in the category of people who have not met Robbie, but as I was thinking about his life — from the opportunity I’ve gotten to sit with Chief Ogden and the fellow officers — I’ve thought a lot about the phrase, ‘You won’t know the impact that you have made until well after you’ve made it.’ While I haven’t met him, his life has made an impact on me, and I’m so thankful for that. … When you live a life where there’s integrity and there’s character, people want to show up to celebrate you years later. … We are all better for knowing the life and legacy of Robbie German.”

Orlando Police Department Officer Gladys Justiniano sang “I Can Only Imagine,” by MercyMe, before Town Council Member Tony Davit spoke.

“Even though it’s been a decade, the memory of his service, his kindness and his sacrifice burns bright in our hearts,” Davit said. “We celebrate the courage he displayed in the face of danger, the unwavering commitment to the town of Windermere and citizens that defined him, his absence, a profound ache for those who loved him, but Robbie’s legacy extends far beyond them, far beyond the people of Windermere and far beyond the state of Florida. It lives on in the countless officers he inspired. Those that continue to serve to protect, not only here, but across this great nation. … His sacrifice serves as a constant reminder of the price paid for the peace we cherish. It compels us to honor his memory by building a stronger, more compassionate Windermere. … Though the grief may cloud our memory, let this memory of Officer Robbie German inspire us.”

Tim German shared a few words about his son and thanked the town for continuing to honor his memory throughout the years. He said the town was his son’s true family. 

“This is an incredible, humbling memorial, and we appreciate it,” he said. “This truly has been his home away from home. He had an opportunity to go to a  bigger place and a bigger police department … he had been here long enough to know this is where he wanted to stay. Besides the fact that he felt a real connection with the community, it was the leadership here. … He wanted to stay to see the changes here and see this town grow. It was like his place. … This is the family he left here, but he’s watching. … The first couple years, obviously, really hard. They still are, but they were really, really hard. … It was tough. Then we heard things like, ‘We will never forget.’”

Ogden spoke about Robbie German’s legacy before leading attendees in a vigil of light.

“Legacy isn’t what you leave for people, it’s what you leave in people, and Robbie left something in us, which outlives him, which outlives me, which outlives all of us,” he said. “As I’ve said before, I am so sorry for your loss. I’m sorry for all of our loss. But my greatest gift I can do is to honor your son. I made that commitment 10 years ago, and I hope and I pray that each day I fulfill that. May God bless you and keep you. May He shine His face upon you. May you feel the comfort and warmth of His peace. I am so grateful to have known Robbie. Not as Officer German, but as Robbie German. It is one of my greatest blessings.”

The Windermere Police Department posed with the roadway sign tribute to officer Robert “Robbie” German.
Courtesy photo



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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