New marker pays tribute to fallen officer

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 13, 2010

One month to the day before his 32nd birthday, Covington County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Lassiter, while on duty, was struck and killed by a drunk driver.

On Wednesday – nearly six years to the day after his death – family, friends, fellow officers and local officials gathered at the U.S. Hwy. 84 accident site and the court square to not only mourn his passing but also to honor law enforcement officers everywhere as part of National Law Enforcement week.

“Brandon gave the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the people of Covington County,”  Sheriff Dennis Meeks said. “He made a difference in so many lives.”

Attorney General Troy King was on hand for the day’s events.

“We should remember the service that each and every law enforcement officer performs,” King said. “And when they fall like (Lassiter), we should remember the life he led, not how he died. This stone pays witness to that.”

Lassiter, who had served with the CCSO only two months before his death, was responding to call to a possible drunk driver on U.S. Hwy. 84 – it was the same driver who caused his death.

Johnny Floyd, now an officer with the Opp Police Department, was Lassiter’s shift supervisor at the time of the April 8, 2004, accident.

“There is one phrase that can describe him – selfless dedication,” Floyd said. “That call (of the drunk driver) came in to another agency, but he moved to intercept it and paid the ultimate price. They say that God has a reason for everything, and I think that maybe he kept that driver from hitting a mother and her children in a minivan. We’ll never know, but he was doing his job and he did it to the best of his ability.”

To commemorate his sacrifice, Lassiter’s parents, Flossie and Jimmy Lassiter, along with Meeks and King, unveiled a memory marker.

Later on the court square, the Rev. Graham Tucker called the day an “official thank you” to the law enforcement community.

To date, the names of seven fallen officers, including Lassiter, have been inscribed on the monument outside the Covington County Courthouse.

“Why are we here today?” questioned King. “We are here today because we have stones, and we have names chiseled on those stones; and we should pause and remember their sacrifice.

“Because to not remember is to dishonor their memory and the way they keep us safe,” he said.