On the morning of Tuesday, March 18, 1941, Apopka Police Chief Fred Risener and Officer Denson Hudson noticed a window open at 310 South Forest Avenue. Two suspects were discovered in the act of opening a safe. The suspects fired at the officers.
Deputy Hudson was wounded and was taken to Orange General Hospital. The suspects escaped when Risener decided to help Hudson rather than pursue the suspects. Later that night Officer Hudson died of a single gunshot wound. He left behind a widow and five children.
Officer Denson L. Hudson is the only Apopka Police Officer to die in the line of duty. His sacrifice went virtually unrecognized until 2012 when the Apopka Police Department petitioned to have his name added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial wall in Washington DC.
Through this effort, his name was added to the more than 20,000 already engraved, recognizing those that paid the ultimate sacrifice.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a law which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. The law was amended in 1994 to designate the day as one of only two days each year during which government agencies, businesses and residents are to fly their U.S. flags at half-staff.
"As I reflect on this year's peace officer's day, I think of a set of words carved on the memorial wall in Washington DC -- 'It is not how these officers died that made them heroes, it's how they lived.' I am humbled to work with the dedicated officers of the Apopka Police Department and all the officers and deputies I have had the honor to work with over my career. It truly is how they live and work daily that makes them all heroes. So far, fire arm related law enforcement deaths are up 50% compared to the same time last year. We need the public to support law enforcement and to remember the intense sacrifices given by all who wear the badge." - Apopka Chief of Police Mike McKinley
"Our law enforcement officers work tirelessly, each day, with little to no recognition of the difficult and dangerous job they are asked to do. On average, an officer dies in the line of duty every 61 hours and nearly 16,000 are assaulted annually. I am proud of the men and women of the Apopka Police Department and know first hand of their dedication and commitment to this community." - Captain Randy Fernandez
Police Week provides a great opportunity to thank, not only the police officers within Apopka, but officers in all communities that put themselves between good people and those intending to harm them.
Another quote on the Memorial says, "The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are as bold as a lion." - Proverbs 28:1.