Polk County sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Shane Robbins was eulogized as a “true hero” Tuesday morning during a memorial service in Lakeland.
Robbins, 40, who died Friday when his patrol car crashed, made his county a “better community, a safer community,” Sheriff Grady Judd said.
Sheriff’s employees joined family and friends to remember a large presence with a soft touch who had a knack for interviewing subjects during investigations, loved to make people laugh and enjoyed volunteering to work with children.
“He was and is the bravest person I've ever known,” said his stepdaughter, Kayla Amstrong.
Sgt. Angie Sockwell, who worked with and supervised Robbins, said he was always excited about his work, even in trying times.
“It was difficult to get him down, no matter what kind of horrors he saw on the job," she said.
The service, at First Baptist Church at the Mall, included an honor guard, bagpipe procession and helicopter flyover. It concluded with the release of doves by Robbins’ family, the playing of taps, the “last-call transmission” and the presentation of the American flag and Bibles to the family.
The cause of Friday’s crash on Bomber Road near U.S. 27 remains under investigation, deputies said.
Robbins, a patrol deputy in northeast Polk, was en route to the department’s operations center in Winter Haven on Friday morning, when he lost control of his Chevrolet Impala and struck a tree in a wooded area, deputies said.
An autopsy ruled out the possibility of Robbins having a medical emergency, the sheriff’s office said.
Robbins, of Lakeland, was born in Columbus, Ga., and moved to Polk from Ocala in 1998. He began his career with the sheriff’s office in February 1998, and served in various parts of the county working.
A master deputy, Robbins received 14 commendations and 187 recognitions and accomplishment reports from the department. During his career, he also worked as a special victims and homicide detective.
He is survived by his wife, Alisa, and five children.
A memorial fund has been set up for Robbins’ family. Donations can be made by writing checks payable to: Memorial Fund for the Children of Master Deputy Sheriff Shane Robbins, and sending it to Mid-Florida Credit Union, 6040 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland FL 33813. Donations can also be made at any Mid-Florida branch.