TAMPA, Fla. — He was brave and loyal. It’s how fellow Tampa Police officers knew Master Patrol Officer Jesse Madsen. Madsen was killed in the line of duty early Tuesday morning after a crash involving a wrong-way driver.
“When I woke up, I was like, ‘Was this just a really bad dream?’ and I immediately knew it was not,” said TPD Sr. Sgt. Ed Croissant.
Croissant said using the word ‘hero’ to describe the decorated officer scratches the surface. Madsen served with Tampa Police for 16 and a half years. Sgt. Croissant says Madsen was his senior officer on his squad last year and called him his ‘go-to guy.’
“When I would look over and we’d look at each other, we’d get that little grin and we knew now it was all business. He was the guy you wanted standing there because I knew he had my back,” said Croissant. “I knew if things went sideways, I could count on him.”
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said Tuesday, during a press conference, they believe Madsen veered into the oncoming car to protect other people. Madsen was a seven-time recipient of the department’s Life-Saving Award.
“I would imagine that he’s put his life in danger a lot more than that and he probably has saved more lives than that,” said Tampa Police Detective Rachel Cholnik.
Cholnik says she got hired with Madsen almost 17 years ago. She explains that Madsen was ready for whatever came their way. His fellow officers said Madsen gave his life doing what he loved.
“Think about that he left his wife and kids to protect a complete stranger or strangers,” said Cholnik. “That’s just who he was, that’s what he would do, and he would have done it for any of us as well.”
Madsen leaves behind a wife and three children. There's been an outpouring of support to help the family in the wake of the officer's death. The Tampa Police foundation, Rise Tampa, set up ways to donate to Officer Madsen’s family. 100% of the donations will be provided directly to the family.
Here's how you can help:
In Person: Monetary donations can be submitted to any Bank of Tampa branch in MPO Madsen’s name.
By Mail: Checks or money orders can be sent to:
i/c/o MPO Madsen
PO Box 172816
Tampa, FL 33672