Sanibel, FL – Sanibel Police Officer Anthony Neri died in the line of duty on Monday, when he suffered a heart attack during his agency’s physical fitness testing.
Officer Neri, 63, collapsed at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office range during an exercise, and was immediately rushed to a local hospital, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
He was pronounced dead a short while later, the Sanibel Police Department (SPD) said in a press release on Tuesday.
Officer Neri served as a U.S. Department of Treasury Revenue Officer for 30 years prior to joining SPD as a police aide in 2012.
He was promoted to the rank of police officer in 2015, his department said.
Officer Neri also previously served as a Union Township police officer in New Jersey for three years, and was a lieutenant and EMT with the Callmen’s Emergency Unit, according to his obituary.
He was a past recipient of Sanibel City’s Perfect Attendance award, and was also elected by his peers to serve on the city’s Police Pension Board in 2017.
His friend, Kathy Boone, said that Officer Neri was always willing to help others when they needed him.
“Tony was an amazing human being. Always willing to lend a hand, share a great story and make you laugh,” Boone wrote on the fallen officer’s tribute page. “He so loved his life and unfortunately for all that knew and loved him he wasn’t here long enough.”
He will be missed by all who knew him, she added.
“We ask you to keep Officer Neri's family, friends and our entire Sanibel Police Department in your prayers,” the SPD said.
Officer Neri leaves behind his wife, Debra, and their children, Allison and Daniel, as well as his mother, sisters, niece, nephew, and many friends and extended family members, according to his obituary.
He will be laid to rest on May 15.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Sanibel Police Officer Anthony Neri, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.