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Flags at half-staff for law enforcement deaths before Irma

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Gov. Rick Scott has ordered flags at half-staff to honor Hardee County Sheriff’s Deputy Julie Ann Bridges and Florida Department of Corrections Sgt. Joseph Ossman.

The two were killed Sunday in a two-car head-on collision. Bridges was on her way home after helping at a local hurricane shelter, reports said. Ossman was headed to work at a state prison.

The AP reported that officials said the area was affected by wind and rain from Hurricane Irma when the crash happened, but the official cause was under investigation.

Scott directed the U.S. and state flags to be flown at half-staff at the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office, the Hardee Correctional Institution in Bowling Green, the Florida Department of Corrections headquarters in Tallahassee, the Hardee County Courthouse, and Wauchula City Hall from sunrise to sunset this Saturday.

“I am heartbroken to learn of the loss of these two individuals,” Scott said in a statement.

“Our law enforcement and correctional officers work every day to keep Floridians safe. It is because of their work we are able to live in a state where people can raise their families safely. My heart goes out to their families and the entire law enforcement and correctional officer community.”

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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