More than 1,000 people turned out to bid final farewell to Deputy Mike Altman. During the ceremony many people describe Altman as man of integrity and loyalty.
Jackson County sheriff's officials laid to rest one of its own Saturday. Deputy Mike Altman was fatally shot last week in the line of duty. While the event was tragic, with four deaths total that night, this funeral was all about the man that made the ultimate sacrifice.
Over 1,000 people, mostly other law enforcement officials, came to show honor to the fallen deputy. Agencies from the tri-state area were present, and even some officers from as far as Tennessee were there to pay respect to not only the family, but the other deputies close to him.
"Honestly, I feel honored to be part of this because we're all part of one big family. Regardless of what shield you wear or what agency you're from, once you're a public safety official you're a part of the family," said Lt. Bryan Maule of the Walton County Sheriff's Office.
During the funeral ceremony, many kind words were spoken about Altman. He is described as a family man with a sense of humor that was dedicated to his job, but perhaps the most significant word that some called Altman was “hero.”
"It's one of those unfortunate incidences for this department, but absolutely he's a hero. We'd like to think you could come together under better circumstances, but it definitely reaches out to everybody for support," said Deputy Sheriff David Walters of the Russell County Sheriff's Office.
Altman was laid to rest at the Black Creek Cemetery in Freeport. Members of the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, Walton County Sheriff's Office, Panama City Police Department and Freeport High School took part in the ceremony.
Special to this ceremony was Mike Altman's niece, Jessica Altman, who read a poem she wrote to her uncle, and a fellow deputy, who read the law enforcement officer's prayer.
Altman was 42 years old at the time of his death.