Sergeant Ray Dykes III
Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, Florida
End of Watch Thursday, December 9, 2020
Ray Dykes had many aspects of his life. He was one of those guys that you wanted to be around. His contagious personality was…contagious! He was fun to be around. He had a smile and a gregarious laugh that you never forgot.
He was also tough – I don’t mean the unfriendly kind of tough. Everyone that knew him liked him – including most of those he put in jail. But he was not the kind of guy to be pushed around. A few people found that out.
Even as a kid, he was tough. When he was in high school at J. M. Tate High School, he was on the wrestling team, and he was good. After college, he decided to combine his toughness with his desire to help people, so he trained to become a corrections officer with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. There, he fulfilled his wish. Not only is a corrections officer tough, but he helps people, even if they don’t really want it.
A few years later, he joined the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy Sheriff. It was there that he truly blossomed. As a deputy, Ray found that he could help people that appreciated it. Through his time with the Sheriff’s office, he was part of many heroic assignments. He served with the GPS Special Operations Team, Property Crimes, Narcotics, Patrol, SWAT and U.S. Marshals. He loved his brothers and sisters of Law Enforcement, which was evident when he was promoted to sergeant.
But Ray went deeper than that. Sure, he was a guy who liked helping people and he was tough. But that was not all.
Ray’s friends – including Sheriff Bob Johnson, one of his closest – will tell you that he was loyal. When a friend needed him, he was there, no questions asked. If a deputy needed help with a suspect, God help the bad guy when Ray showed up. He was a faithful friend.
But even those qualities didn’t fully describe Ray Dykes. For, greater than his desire to serve the public, his brute toughness and his loyalty, Ray was a family man. He loved his family – his wife, Jennifer; children, Margi (Wesley) Cummings, Tyler Fuqua, Keaton Fuqua, Payton Fuqua; parents, Ray Dykes Sr.(a retired trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol), Peggy (Bill) Stephens, his two sisters, Candace Freeman and Tiffany Allen, along many nieces and nephews and other family.
Ray also loved hunting, fishing, hiking or building stuff. It was a way to relax away from the burdens of enforcing the law. And, then there was Runnamucka Ranch. Ray, Jennifer and the kids built it as a family. Was it used to “run a muck?” Yep, and they loved being there!
Ray didn’t look at his job as a 40-hour-a-week paycheck. It was much more. Maybe he wore it too close to his vest because, on December 9, his struggle over a case got the best of him. It took his life in the middle of the night by a massive heart attack.
Eight days later, his brothers – the Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Honor Guard, mournfully carried his body.
Every time a brother or sister law officer dies, the law enforcement community feels it – takes it in the heart. But that really didn’t describe Ray. A shock felt throughout all of the local agencies was felt. Ray’s influence reached well beyond his own agency. Even officers that didn’t know him that well were devastated. The law enforcement community, Ray’s family and friends, and the entire world will never be the same.