In June 1993, Belleair Police Department Officer Jeffery Tackett was the lone officer responding to a call about a burglary. In a struggle with the perpetrator, 28-year-old Officer Tackett lost his life.
Pinellas County Commissioner John Morroni, then a member of the Florida Legislature, was touched by the sight of the young officer's funeral in Largo. He decided to find a way to honor the everyday heroes who work in law enforcement in Pinellas County. He later co-sponsored the Tackett Bill in the Legislature that requires either two officers on duty at all times or mutual aid agreements to protect officers on duty. Commissioner Morroni then organized the first appreciation dinner to honor law enforcement officers beginning in 1995.
Since 1994, Commissioner Morroni's annual appreciation dinner has grown from recognizing law enforcement officers to including firefighters and EMS personnel. This year's event is at 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27, at the Belleview Biltmore Resort, 25 Belleview Blvd., Clearwater. The dinner is open to the public. Tickets are $40 and proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast Inc. For ticket information or to RSVP, call (727) 791-3356.
Past dinners have honored Officer Tackett's family and firefighters who took part in the rescue efforts at the World Trade Center during the Sept. 11 disaster. This year's honoree will be announced at the dinner.
The appreciation dinner invitation list includes all public safety personnel and elected officials. Commissioner Morroni and private donations continue to cover the cost of the event. This is the fifth year that the appreciation dinner has been organized by Commissioner Morroni as a county event.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition