You are here
Home > News > Moore Haven Lock and Dam renamed in memory of fallen FWC officer

Moore Haven Lock and Dam renamed in memory of fallen FWC officer

The Moore Haven Lock and Dam has been renamed the Julian Keen Jr. Lock and Dam. (FWC photo)

The late Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Officer Julian Keen Jr. was honored June 18 with the renaming of the Moore Haven Lock and Dam in his memory. The dedication came four days after the announcement of a new youth mentoring program named in Keen’s memory through a partnership between the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Collier County Public Schools and the Julian Lee Keen Foundation.

Keen, 30, was shot and killed a year ago after following a hit-and-run suspect while off-duty in LaBelle. Soon after, Eliceo Hernandez, 20, was charged in connection with the shooting.

Keen served FWC for more than six years. He was also a former worker at the Seminole Tribe’s Billie Swamp Safari, where he learned to wrestle alligators.  His training led to him wrestling alligators in front of spectators. 

Julian Keen Jr. was a former alligator wrestler at Billie Swamp Safari in Big Cypress. (Photo courtesy Julian Lee Kean Foundation)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District and FWC hosted the renaming event.

FWC Officer Julian Keen Jr. (FWC photo)

“He represents the best in all of us. He was a young man of outstanding character, deeply beloved by his community. The Corps is honored to rename the Moore Haven Lock and Dam as the ‘Julian Keen Jr. Lock and Dam’ in his memory,” Col. Andrew Kelly, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, said in a statement. 

“Law enforcement officers are dedicated public servants who are never really off-duty. Officer Keen showed immense courage and bravery the night he was tragically killed and will forever be remembered by his FWC family and the citizens of LaBelle,” Rodney Barreto, FWC chairman, said in a statement.

The renaming of the lock and dam was made through the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) of 2020, assisted by Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart and Greg Steube. Diaz-Balart described Keene as “a pillar in his community, a loving friend and family member, and a driving force for good.”

A news conference June 14 – one year to the day of Keen’s death – provided details about the Julian Lee Keen Cadets Mentorship Program. The program will offer mentoring to students from Immokalee Middle School with plans to expand to other schools in the future. Five students have been selected so far. Sherriff deputies, teachers from Immokalee Technical College and Immokalee firefighters will be mentors to the Julian Lee Keen Cadets.  

“The Collier County Sheriff’s Office is proud to partner in this positive and proactive program that honors Officer Julian Keen by building upon his legacy mentoring young people in his hometown of Immokalee,’’ Undersheriff James Bloom said. “This is a great opportunity to form a bond with Immokalee’s young people, the impact of which will last a lifetime.”

A ceremony was held June 18, 2021, for the naming of the Julian Keen Jr. Lock and Dam in Moore Haven. (Photo Lt. Col. Todd Polk via Facebook)

Read Offline:
Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at kevinjohnson@semtribe.com.
Top