Orlando community remembers Lt. Debra Clayton

- Today, Orlando's finest attended the funeral of one of their own.

It was a somber day for the lives of law enforcement, family and friends of Lt. Debra Clayton, 42.

But with the sadness came sentimental moments as Orlando Police Chief John Mina took the stage.

"I'm promoting Debra to the rank of Lieutenant," Chief Mina said.

Master Sgt. Debra Clayton became Lt Clayton at Saturday's funeral service.

Pastor Derrick L. McRae said, "This is not a memorial service. This is a memory service."

And with those words, they shared heartwarming memories of a woman who fought against crime and inspired kids in the community to be the best they can be.

Coworker Sharon Holmes spoke of Lt. Clayton fondly.

"Debra had a hard life, and she shared her life experiences as proof that they could be better despite those life experiences," Holmes said.

Her former partner Nate Holmes talked about her special way of keeping the peace at work.

"She'd look at me and say Nate calm down, Nate behave yourself and keep me out of the Chief's office!" Nate Holmes said.

Lt. Clayton applied for a job at the Orlando Police Department in 1998. Chief Mina shared what she wrote on her application.

He said, "I consider myself a strong minded, single parent. I would be very proud to work with the OPD."

"Debra loved her job, but it is a tough and dangerous job," said Congresswoman Val Demings, who was once the Orlando Police Chief.

Demings was the one who made Clayton a Sergeant.

"Today is not a politically correct day," Demings said. "An Orlando police officer died doing what little people would attempt to do. She died pursuing a murder suspect."

Chief Mina said Lt. Clayton was surrounded by officers who comforted her till the very end.

He says she will be missed.

"As I think about Debra, what come's to mind is her amazing smile, signature nails and optimism and faith," Chief Mina said. "Take that extra step in the coming weeks and months to stop and talk to the kids in the neighborhood. I can think of no great tribute to Debra's legacy. She will be deeply missed, but not forgotten."

Lt. Clayton was a 17-year veteran of the force. She leaves behind a husband and son.

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