In Memory of Lieutenant Lonny Hempstead
Florida officials announced the loss of another police officer to the COVID19 virus. Florida has been losing many officers to the coronavirus. These officers are encouraged by their Governor to continue to refuse the vaccine.
On Tuesday, August 10, 2021, Lieutenant Lonny Hempstead, badge number 62-2, died due to complications of the virus. We learned early in the pandemic that certain occupations could carry a greater risk of exposure. For law enforcement, the pandemic has been a difficult challenge. Masks can be difficult to run or see clearly. Arresting suspects is a situation that does not allow for social distancing. In addition, jails are being rampaged by the virus, killing both inmates, staff, and officers alike. Lt. Hempstead was 55 years of age at the time of his death.
For Lt. Lonny Hempstead, it was found that he faced exposure to the virus when he and other officers were serving a search warrant. The job that many law enforcement officers require is that they contact many members of the public each day, thus increasing their chance to contract the virus.
Lieutenant Lonny Hempstead died from complications due to contracting COVID-19 during a confirmed exposure while serving a search warrant. For the year 2021, the state of Florida has lost 18 officers to the virus. That is eighteen families who are left to suffer the consequences of the current leadership’s push to refuse vaccinations. Families, children – these are the ones left to suffer the effects of these decisions.
Lieutenant Hempstead was a man who chose early on to live a life of civil service. He was a member of the Florida Army National Guard and is a veteran. Hempstead served the residents of Lafayette County for over 26 years. He will be genuinely missed by all those whose lives he touched in the course of his duties.
Lt. Hempstead was known in the community for his sense of humor. The community jokester, he never met a stranger and always was smiling. As a result, Hempstead developed a relationship with everyone in the community, making him a trusted leader, friend, and protector.
Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office, Florida
Hempstead served with the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. The department serves the entire county. This includes unincorporated areas of the county and the communities of Mayo, Day, Cooks, Hammock, and Hatchbend.
Officers with the department offer police services that include Uniformed Patrol, Criminal Investigations, Court Services, Corrections, Dispatch / 911 Call Center, Records, and Administration. Hempstead is the first officer in the department’s history to have died due to the pandemic.
Lieutenant Lonny Hempstead leaves behind his wife, two children, two grandchildren, and his parents. The community will help embrace the Hempstead family for their sacrifice and support them during their time of grief. Residents lined the streets offering salutes, flags, and signs of appreciation as Lt. Hempstead was escorted by law enforcement to his final resting place.
Lafayette County Sheriff Brian Lamb shared details of the loss and life of Lt. Hempstead. “Lt. Hempstead gave honorable service to Lafayette Count, the State of Florida, and our country. As great of a law enforcement officer as he was, Lt. Hempstead’s legacy will be how great of a husband, son, father, grandfather, cousin, and friend he was. This world would be a much better place if it were filled with people like Lt. Hempstead. Please continue to pray for his family and our office.”