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Master Deputy Sheriff Joseph “Shane” Robbins

Master Deputy Sheriff Shane Robbins was killed in a single-vehicle crash on Bomber Road, near Spruce Road, at approximately 9:15 am.

He was traveling westbound when his vehicle left the roadway for unknown reasons. A nearby resident who heard the crash called 911 to report the crash and responding rescue workers extricated him from his patrol car. He was transported to Winter Haven Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Master Deputy Robbins had served with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for 15 years and was assigned to the Northeast District. He is survived by his wife and five children.

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Ms. Bea Reid

Polk County Sheriff’s Office
End of Watch: Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ms. Bea Reid, 44-years-old, Executive Director of the Office of Business Affairs for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, was killed by her husband in the early morning hours of Sunday, September 18, 2011, according to the Plant City Police Department. “Bea was an incredibly special person to all of us at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office—she was not just our colleague, she was our dear friend,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “Our Sheriff’s Office family is hurting—this is a tremendous loss. In the most difficult of times, the best of friends come together to love and support each other. ”

Bea Reid is survived locally by her mother, two sons, a step-daughter, a step-son, and an agency family who loved her dearly.

Bea lived in Plant City and worked at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Operations Center. She was hired by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office on March 4, 1996 as Finance Supervisor. She quickly became a valuable asset to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. In September 1996, she was promoted to Finance Administrator and to Deputy Director of Finance in October 2002. Bea was appointed as Executive Director of Business Affairs in January 2005. She was the highest ranking civilian member at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the third highest ranking executive staff member (after Sheriff Grady Judd and Chief of Staff Steve Lester). She led and managed all administrative aspects of the Sheriff’s Office including finance, human resources, training, fleet operations, information technology, and business services. She has earned advanced academic degrees through the master’s level. She was a Certified Public Accountant and a Florida Certified Public Manager. She was a parishioner and volunteer at St. Clement Catholic Church; she belonged to and was treasurer for the Lakeland Kiwanis Club; served on the Board of Directors of the Citizens CPR; served on the Board of Directors of Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center; and was the volunteer Executive Director of Polk Sheriff’s Charities, a large, multi-purpose charity that supports public safety causes. She has coordinated the first two “Bustin’ Clays With Grady Judd” annual fundraising event for Polk Sheriff’s Charities (2009-2010; the next event is March, 2012). She was a cancer survivor and energetically supported the fight against the disease.

She was recognized as the 2011 Professional Woman of Distinction from the National Association of Women Business Owners in Lakeland on Thursday, April 7, 2011. According to NAWBO, a Woman of Distinction is, “a woman who exemplifies achievement, integrity, professionalism and community spirit. She is a woman who embodies those values and has distinguished herself in service to her organization, company and community.”

At the time she was recognized, Sheriff Judd said: “Bea is proven professional who has earned the respect of her peers and everyone she supervises. She may not wear a uniform, but she certainly wears the agency’s pride well – her bright and positive personality, can-do attitude, and exceptional teamwork and customer service philosophy, are examples for all of us to follow.”

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Deputy Sheriff John Charles Mecklenburg

Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, Florida
End of Watch: Sunday, July 3, 2011

Deputy John Mecklenburg was killed in an automobile accident in Pasco County while involved in a vehicle pursuit.

Officers from the Brooksville Police Department had started pursuing a vehicle on U.S. Highway 41 at approximately 4:40 am. Deputies joined in the pursuit and attempted a PIT maneuver on the vehicle. The suspect driver was able to regain control of his vehicle and continued to flee. Deputy Mecklenburg continued to pursuit the vehicle into Pasco County. His vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree near the intersection of Painter Road.

His cruiser caught fire upon impact, but other officers in the pursuit were able to extinguish the flames. He was flown to a hospital in Tampa where he succumbed to his injuries. Another deputy was also injured earlier in the pursuit when his vehicle crashed.

The suspect driver of the vehicle was arrested by members of the Florida Highway Patrol a short time later after being pursued through four counties.

Deputy Mecklenburg was a U.S. Army veteran and had served with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office for two years. He is survived by his wife and two young children.

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David Scott Crawford

St. Petersburg Police Department, Florida
End of Watch: Monday, February 21, 2011

Police Officer David Crawford was shot and killed after responding to a report of a suspicious person.

At approximately 10:30 pm, Officer Crawford and another officer responded to a report of a suspicious person in the 700 block of 3rd Avenue after a citizen observed a male walking through his backyard with a broken brick in his hand. Officer Crawford canvassed the area and found the subject near the southwest corner of 2nd Avenue S and 8th Street S. He parked his patrol car and approached the male.

At some point during the encounter there was an exchange of gunfire and Officer Crawford was shot and wounded. He was not wearing his vest at the time. He was taken to Bayfront Medical Center where he died from his wounds.

The suspect fled and after a 24-hour search, a 16-year-old male was arrested and charged with first degree murder. On March 23, 2012, he was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Officer Crawford had served with the St. Petersburg Police Department for 25 years. He is survived by his wife and daughter.

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Jeffrey Adam Yaslowitz

St. Petersburg Police Department, Florida
End of Watch: Monday, January 24, 2011

Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz and Sergeant Tom Baitinger were shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant on a suspect with two outstanding warrants wanted for aggravated battery at a home on 28th Avenue South.

Several members of a regional task force had gone to the home to question a family member about the man’s whereabouts. After making contact with the woman, the officers were informed that the man was in the attic and possibly armed.

Officer Yaslowitz, who served on the department’s canine unit, was just starting his shift, filling in for another officer, and responded to the call.

After searching the house they located the suspect in the attic where he convinced officers that he was going to surrender. As Officer Yaslowitz and a member of the United States Marshals Service, Marshal Scott Ley, made entry into the attic, the suspect shot Officer Yaslowitz twice in the head, and then shot the Marshal Ley in the groin, causing Marshal Ley to fall out of the attic.

Officers assembled a rescue team to try to rescue Officer Yaslowitz from the attic, and Marshal Ley from a bathroom on the upper floor of the house. As Sergeant Baitinger passed under the opening of the attic to aid Marshal Ley, the suspect then fired from the attic, striking Sergeant Baitinger.

A SWAT team used a tactical vehicle to breach a wall of the home and came under fire, but was able to recover Officer Yaslowitz. Officer Yaslowitz and Sergeant Baitinger were both transported to a local hospital where they were pronounced dead.

The suspect was found dead several hours later after the home was partially dismantled using heavy machinery.

Officer Yaslowitz had served with the St. Petersburg Police Department for 12 years. He is survived by his wife and three children.

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Thomas John “Tom” Baitinger

St. Petersburg Police Department, Florida
End of Watch: Monday, January 24, 2011

Sergeant Tom Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz were shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant on a suspect with two outstanding warrants wanted for aggravated battery.

Several members of a regional task force had gone to the home to question a family member about the man’s whereabouts. After making contact with the woman, the officers were informed that the man was in the attic and possibly armed.

Officer Yaslowitz, who served on the department’s canine unit, had just started his shift, filling in for another officer, when he responded to the call.

After searching the house they located the suspect in the attic where he convinced officers that he was going to surrender. As Officer Yaslowitz and a member of the United States Marshals Service, Marshal Scott Ley, made entry into the attic, the suspect shot Officer Yaslowitz twice in the head, and then shot the Marshal Ley in the groin, causing Marshal Ley to fall out of the attic.

Officers assembled a rescue team to try to rescue Officer Yaslowitz from the attic, and Marshal Ley from a bathroom on the upper floor of the house. As Sergeant Baitinger passed under the opening of the attic to aid Marshal Ley, the suspect then fired from the attic, striking Sergeant Baitinger.

A SWAT team used a tactical vehicle to breach a wall of the home and came under fire, but was able to recover Officer Yaslowitz. Officer Yaslowitz and Sergeant Baitinger were both transported to a local hospital where they were pronounced dead.

The suspect was found dead several hours later after the home was partially dismantled using heavy machinery.

Sergeant Baitinger had served with the St. Petersburg Police Department for 15 years. He is survived by his wife.

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Wesley Richard Whitmore, Jr.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Florida
End of Watch: Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sergeant Wesley Whitmore was struck and killed by a vehicle in the parking lot of a convenience store in Winter Haven.

The elderly driver of an an SUV traveling on an adjacent roadway lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle crashed through a metal barrier, struck a woman and business, then traveled through a parking lot and struck Sergeant Whitmore’s patrol car. The impact pushed the patrol car into the sergeant, who had just exited it.

Sergeant Whitmore had served with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for 15 years after retiring from the U.S. Air Force. He is survived by his wife, three sons, one daughter, 10 grandchildren, his mother, and one sister.

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Deputy Brandon Lee Coates

Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Florida
End of Watch: Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Deputy Brandon Coates was shot and killed while making a traffic stop near the intersection of South Nashville Avenue and 45th Street at around 8:30 pm. Moments after radioing in the traffic stop 911 dispatchers received calls stating a deputy had been shot and received a description of the suspect’s vehicle.

The vehicle was located at a nearby apartment complex. During the ensuing search for the suspect, the man’s body was found suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Deputy Coates had served with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for 4½ years and was assigned to the Tactical Anti-Crime Unit. He is survived by his wife, who also serves as a deputy with the agency, his mother and brother. He was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

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Deputy Mark A. Longway

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
End of Watch: Tuesday, September 21, 2010

“This uniform is just a different color. I’m still serving. First it was my country, now it is my county.”
— Deputy Mark Longway

Deputy Mark A. Longway died on September 21, 2010 in a traffic crash while driving his patrol car. Deputy Longway was assigned to the Homeland Security Division/Port Security.

Deputy Longway, 48, joined the Sheriff’s Office in July 2004. He served in the Patrol Division before being reassigned earlier this year to the Port Security detail.

Deputy Longway was a decorated veteran of the U.S. Air Force, having earned numerous medals and accolades during his military service. He served our nation for 21 years. Mark decided to become a deputy after hearing about a hiring initiative while at MacDill Air Force Base. He knew he wanted to continue serving his fellow citizens.

Mark was selected to be one of HCSO’s first recipients of the Integrity Grant scholarship. The Could You Answer The Call? program utilized federal grant money to target outstanding deputy cadets and offer them a monthly stipend and tuition for our law enforcement academy. Mark fit the bill perfectly.

As Mark once noted, “This [deputy’s] uniform is just a different color. I’m still serving. First it was my country, now it is my county.’’ Wonderful words from one of our heroes.

Deputy Longway was an outstanding law enforcement officer. Among his accomplishments: he once helped save a suicidal man from jumping off the roof of a business. In another instance, Deputy Longway’s compassion and professional manner was noted by a citizen in a survey. The citizen gave him a rating of “excellent’’ in every category, an accomplishment few deputies achieved. That distinction earned him a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office commendation for making a lasting impression on a citizen.

Deputy Longway leaves behind a wife, two daughters, and three grandchildren.

Deputy Longway, thank you for your service to our nation and to our county. We are proud to have called you a friend and colleague.

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Officer Jeffrey Alan Kocab

Tampa Police Department, Florida
End of Watch: Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Officers Jeffrey Kocab and David Curtis were shot and killed while attempting to make an arrest at a traffic stop.

Officer Curtis stopped a vehicle because it did not have a visible license plate. He called for an additional unit to assist him because a male passenger in the car was wanted on a misdemeanor charge for writing a worthless check. When Officer Curtis arrived, he and Officer Kocab attempted to arrest the suspect. The suspect drew a weapon and shot both officers at close range.

A witness called 911 to report the shooting. Officer Kocab died shortly after arriving at the hospital and Officer Curtis was pronounced dead a few hours later.

The suspect surrendered and was taken into custody four days later.

Officer Kocab served with the Tampa police for 14 months and had previously served with the Plant City Police Department. He is survived by his expectant wife and is buried in Myrtle Hill Memorial Park, Tampa, Florida.