On June 13, 1993 Belleair Police Officer Jeffery Tackett responded to a call about suspicious noises outside a citizen's condominium window. It was 11:15 p.m. when he arrived alone and encountered a suspect. A struggle ensued, and Officer Tackett was shot with his duty weapon. He died at the age of 28.
The death of this young officer weighed heavily on the hearts of those who served with him, those who knew him and a community that felt the loss of one of their finest. Commissioner John Morroni, who was then a State Representative, attended the funeral in Largo and was deeply touched. He vowed to make a difference.
He and Senator Dennis Jones co-sponsored the Tackett Bill in the state Legislature in 1995. The bill requires either two officers be on duty at all times or mutual aid agreements with other law enforcement agencies be enacted so that no officer has to respond to a call alone. As a way to personally thank the men and women who put their own lives on the line every day, Morroni organized the first Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner in 1995.
The tradition continued. Morroni expanded the event to include firefighters and EMS personnel, in addition to a special honoree announced at the dinner each year. Past honorees have included Officer Tackett's family and emergency personnel who helped in the rescue efforts in New York City following the 9/11 attack. Commissioner
The 13th annual Appreciation Dinner for Law Enforcement Firefighters and EMS Personnel will be held Friday, Jan. 26, at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, Palm Court Pavilion, 501 Fifth Ave., N.E., St. Petersburg. The evening begins at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7. The cost is $50.
All public safety personnel and elected officials have been invited. Contributions by Morroni and private donations continue to cover the cost of the event. All proceeds will benefit the Children's Burn Foundation of Florida.
For information and to make reservations, call (727) 791-3356.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition