TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa police officer has died following complications from COVID-19. TPD Officer Matthew S. Coleman died at the age of 37.
The Tampa Police Department said Officer Coleman joined TPD on Sept. 30, 2014. He was assigned as a field training officer in District II. Before that, Officer Coleman worked at the Polk County Sheriff's Office from June 2008 to September 2014.
"Officer Coleman will be greatly missed," TPD said in a post on social media. "He was a valued mentor and a friend to many."
Officer Coleman is survived by his wife and children.
Danny Alvarez with the Tampa Police Benevolent Association says the men and women of TPD are a resilient group, but that it is a hard day.
“You don’t need to know Officer Coleman to understand that the legacy that he leaves behind is one of honor, duty, and code and selfless service to others, that you might not know him, but he served you and he put himself on the line and so now his family is in need of your love and prayers,” said Alvarez.
It is yet another tragic loss in the local law enforcement community during this pandemic. In recent weeks, several law enforcement agencies in the Tampa Bay area have lost one of their own after battles with COVID-19 or from complications related to the illness. Alvarez explained the toll it all takes.
“I think if you were to take the temperature on law enforcement today, when it comes to COVID, it’s just a level of exhaustion, and it probably mirrors the people that they help keep safe and secure, the society that they protect," said Alvarez. "Everywhere, it’s what they think about all the time: are they having to be masked? Is this person going to get me sick? Am I going to be able to go home tonight? Am I even going to be able to go to work tomorrow because I got sick or exposed? So it’s always this thing that’s on their shoulder."
At this time, funeral arrangements have not been announced.
Anyone who would like to donate to the Coleman family can do so through the Tampa Police Benevolent Association, comment “Coleman Family” or via Venmo @Tampa-PBA.
To donate, click here.