TAMPA, Fla. — Numerous law enforcement agencies in the Tampa Bay area came together to pay tribute to the three officers who were killed in the line of duty in the past three months.
State wildlife officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission arranged a tribute on the water on Tuesday night. The procession started at 8:15 p.m.
A line of sixteen boats traveled north on the Hillsborough River. The sixteen boats represented Master Patrol Officer Jesse Madsen's service to the community. Officer Madsen worked for the Tampa Police Department for 16 years.
Last week, Officer Madsen was killed when he used his patrol car to stop an intoxicated driver traveling the wrong way on I-275.
"The great extent that law enforcement will go to protect the public. That's a heroic event that somebody, an officer would do that to protect the innocent to put his vehicle in the path of a vehicle that was exceeding by great numbers the speed limit," said Tim Graham who watched the procession.
The procession on the water also paid tribute to Sgt. Brian LaVigne of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and Deputy Michael Magli with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
Sgt. LaVigned died in January after a suspect intentionally slammed into his patrol car. In February, Deputy Magli died while deploying stop sticks to stop a drunk driver.
"Always a reaction of sadness and wish it didn't happen," said Scott Lowke who watched the procession.
"These officers gave their lives doing what they're paid to do, but above and beyond because they did it to protect the innocent," said Graham.
The following agencies participated in the water tribute: The Tampa Police Department, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, United States Air Force, United States Coast Guard, Manatee County Sheriff's Office, Pasco County Sheriff's Office, Polk County Sheriff's Office, St. Petersburg Police Department and the Treasure Island Police Department.