During all the time he was growing up, Nick Sottile Jr. knew his father, Nicholas G. Sottile, as a law enforcement officer, he recalled.
On Thursday, he joined others at Highlands County commission chambers in remembering his father and other officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty during Peace Officers’ Memorial Day.
Mark Schrader, chief deputy of the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, said that statistics show that one law officer dies every 57 hours, and many more are assaulted or receive injuries.
This past year in Florida four law enforcement officers died in the line of duty. Those were:
Of those who have died in Highlands County, Sottile, 48, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper, was the only one shot to death. Sottile, who lived in Highlands County, was shot to death Jan. 12, 2007, after making a traffic stop on U.S. 27, north of Lake Placid. His killer, Joshua Lee Altersberger, was convicted of the murder and sentenced to death. He remains on death row.
Sottile’s son, a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, said his main memory of his father is as a law enforcement officer. When his father would visit his school, he always was in uniform, Nick Sottile Jr. recalled.
He said he’s had trouble dealing with the death of his father and the idea of forgiving the killer.
But he also said looking toward the hope of the future is important and that it’s important to “celebrate the future, as opposed to burying yourself in the past.”
Sebring Police Chief Thomas Dettman noted other law officers who have died in the line of duty. They were: