In Honor & Memory of
Ofc. Daniel Starks
Fort Meyers, FL Police
End of Watch: October 25, 2003
Police Officer Daniel Matthew Starks
Fort Myers, Florida Police
End of Watch: Saturday, October 25, 2003
Tour of Duty: 2 months
Badge Number: 311
Cause of Death: Vehicle pursuit
Date of Incident: Saturday, October 25, 2003
Weapon Used: Automobile
Suspect Info: Sentenced to 21 years
Officer Daniel Starks was killed in automobile accident while responding to backup officers who were involved in a high speed pursuit.
Officer Starks' patrol car collided with another police vehicle at the intersection of Oleander and DeSoto Avenues. Officer Starks was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
One of the two suspects involved in the pursuit was apprehended after their vehicle rammed a patrol car. On September 20, 2006, the suspect was sentenced to 21 years and 6 months in prison in connection with Officer Starks' murder.
Officer Starks had served as a sworn officer with the Fort Myers Police Department for only 2 months, and had served as an Explorer and Community Service Aide for the previous 5 years.
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The Following reflection was sent to The Tye Band Company from Gerard Starks, Father of Ofc. Daniel Starks...
What do you want to do when you grow up? Daniel Starks knew all of his life that he wanted to be a police officer. At the young age of sixteen, Daniel came to the Fort Myers Police Department. He was very thin and wearing a bright white cowboy hat and told a Police Explorer Advisor, “I want to be a police officer.” Daniel was given the chance to begin his dream by joining the Fort Myers Police Department Explorer Post 55. Daniel was very proud of his police explorer uniform, police training, and police ride-a-longs. He even tried some of the “police” moves on his best friend. Daniel was also a volunteer firefighter with the Bayshore Fire Department. Daniel’s brother Andrew had become a firefighter as they worked out of the same firehouse. On one shift, Daniel and another firefighter were on the rescue truck and saved a little girl. It was a very proud moment for both of them. Daniel told his Fire Chief, “I might be both a firefighter and a policeman.
Daniel was closer to his dream when he became a Fort Myers Police Department Community Service Aide. He was driving a police car with bright yellow lights and wearing a police department Community Service Aide uniform and taking police reports. Daniel had a strong faith and was devoted to his church. Through his police work as a community service aide, he gave back to his community by helping those in need. He loved that he was closer to becoming a police officer. Daniel found another love in his life, Jessica. He saved his money every time he was paid and spent a lot of time picking out that special ring. He asked Jessica to become his wife. Daniel was given the opportunity by the Fort Myers Police Department when he was accepted into the Southwest Florida Criminal Justice Academy. Every Friday on range day, Daniel would walk into the police department in those green fatigues and green academy shirt, proud of the fact that he was that much closer to his goal. Finally, Daniel was sworn in at the Fort Myers Police Department. Police Chief Hilton Daniels was so proud of the young man who had now grown up to wear a Fort Myers Police Department Officer badge. Daniel still had more training. He was a shining star through his entire Field Training Program. His field-training officers told other officers when Daniel wasn’t around, “This kid knows more about that computer than I can teach him.” Another officer said, “Daniel knows where he’s going and doesn’t need my help.” Daniel was released from the training program to his own police car. That night he helped a family whose son was struck by a truck after chasing his ball. Daniel had his first felony traffic stop with most of his field training officers right there to help him through it. Daniel watched how his police department worked with other agencies to apprehend drunk drivers at a DUI checkpoint. Daniel helped plain-clothes officers identify burglars in a neighborhood. Daniel then went to help his sisters and brothers in law enforcement by joining in a pursuit wherein the suspect had tried to ram fellow officers. The chase went from vehicle to foot pursuit. Daniel was only blocks away when his exciting night came to a heartbreaking end when he collided into another Fort Myers Police vehicle also trying to help in the pursuit. The crash ultimately took Daniel’s life at the end of his shift that day. It was his first day at work as a police officer. Streams of fellow police officers arrived at the scene. None could believe it was Daniel. Word spread very quickly throughout the community. His police family, his firefighter family and his church family all gathered to say good-bye to a son, brother, fiancée, firefighter and police officer. Thousands sat and stood in the church watching this little kid grow up again before their eyes. The procession was the longest the City of Fort Myers had seen. Police officers, firefighters and those with his Christian faith came from every corner of the state. There was a twenty-one-gun salute, a helicopter fly over, the American flag draped over the coffin, and the tears on everyone’s face when the Last Call was played. It was a heartfelt moment to have to say good-bye to such a great person who everyone there knew had reached his childhood dream of becoming a police officer. As Daniel was laid to rest by all of his families, people went their separate ways, with each one remembering a special moment they shared with Daniel. Daniel may be gone but he will never be forgotten. In memory of Officer Daniel Matthew Starks, the Fort Myers Police Department has retired badge number 311. This number will be proudly displayed on the back of every Fort Myers Police Department patrol vehicle. Our hearts go out to the Starks family. In Memoriam Fort Myers PD Officer Daniel Starks Killed in the Line of Duty October 25th, 2003