TAMPA - By all accounts, Tampa Police officer Jeff Kocab, 31, was an energetic and enthusiastic cop, who was looking forward to being a father. His wife is nine months pregnant.
Along with Tampa Police officer David Curtis , Kocab was shot and killed on Tuesday morning after a routine traffic stop .
Jeffrey Kocab began his career in law enforcement with Plant City Police Department in February, 2006, and was constantly on the go.
Police Chief Bill McDaniel said he was full of energy and enthusiasm. "When he went out to do his shift, he put in 12 solid hours of police work."
In 2007, after having served just a little over a year with Plant City Police Department, Jeffrey Kocab was honored as the Plant City Police Department’s Officer of the Year. During the presentation of that award, McDaniel said, “[Jeffrey Kocab] has repeatedly demonstrated his capacity to succeed in accomplishing the core mission of law enforcement.”
Officer Kocab was also honored as the “Employee of the Month” on four occasions while on the Plant City force. These accolades, chosen by colleagues, were bestowed in recognition of Officer Kocab’s outstanding performance as a police officer in the Plant City community.
Michael Bard said his friend and former partner was the first person he met at the department, and described Kocab as a "hard charger" who "wasn't afraid to tackle something."
Reflecting on Officer Kocab’s service with the Plant City Police Department , Chief McDaniel stated: “Jeffrey Kocab was an enthusiastic and energetic officer who never shied away from the duties and demands of law enforcement. He served with distinction and received numerous accolades because of his tenacious approach to doing his job. Jeff was an extremely intelligent young man and he had the heart of a lion.”
Apparently, those attributes carried on after his stop in Plant City. Tampa Police said Kocab "moved through TPD's training program at an accelerated pace because of his outstanding police skills."
Zone partners for a year and a half, Bard said that Kocab was a practitioner of Jujitsu, and "the most loyal person" that he knew.
He and Kocab were friends outside of work as well, they went to the same church, and shared a love of cars - they both owned Camaros.
The last conversation they had was about 'the baby.'
The 31-year-old police officer was married to Sara Kocab, a dean at Kathleen Middle School in Lakeland. She is nine months pregnant. They were anticipating the birth of their first child next week.
Flags in Plant City, and across Hillsborough County are lowered to half-staff, in rememberance of both Kocab and Officer David Curtis.
A fund has been set up for the family of Jeffrey Kocab. Those who would like to contribute to the fund may make a check payable to MIDFLORIDA Credit Union with 'Kocab Memorial Fund' in the memo line. Checks or cash may be dropped off at any MIDFLORIDA Credit Union branch or mailed to:
MIDFLORIDA Credit Union
1551 Gary Road
Lakeland, FL 33801
Information provided by the Tampa Police Department, the Plant City Police Department, and Polk County Public Schools.
For complete coverage, see the ABC Action News.com special report: Tampa Police Tragedy .
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