The Lakeland Police Foundation announced Wednesday that it had received a donation of approximately $1 million for the construction of a memorial park.
- Donor wished to remain anonymous
- Donor specified funds must be used to construct and maintain "Fallen Heroes Memorial" park
- Remaining balance of funds to be used to fund eligible students to enter and complete the police academy
Officials with the foundation say the donor asked to not be named publicly. The donor also specified exactly how the donated funds should be spent: on the construction and maintanence of a "Fallen Heroes Memorial" park.
The memorial will honor the 5 officers who've been killed in the line of duty in the department's history, including Officer Arnulfo Crispin.
Crispin's family said they were elated to hear about the donation.
"I'm going to be honest with you, I started crying. This was a blessing that no one expected," said his sister, Brenda Crispin who is also a Lakeland Police Officer.
"I think the memorials serve a big purpose," said Frankie Crispin, Crispin's brother. "You know people go to these memorials to reflect, and it reminds us that peace does have its price."
The Lakeland Police Foundation had set a goal of raising $300,000 for the memorial. Their hope was to have it built by December, which marks the 5th anniversary of Crispin's death.
Lt. Steven Pacheco said this donation seals the deal.
"First of all, the donation was totally unexpected, so when we received notification of it, of course, we were humbled and very surprised," he said.
Any remaining balance of funds from the donation are to go to the other non-profit efforts served by the Foundation. Those efforts include providing funding for eligible students who wish to become police officers to enter and complete the police academy.
While they might not know who the benefactor is, the Crispins and the entire Lakeland Police family said they have a message for the donor.
"A million 'thank yous', a million 'thank yous' for your blessing," said Brenda Crispin.