On December 21, 2014, Officer Charles Kondek Jr. responded to a noise complaint at an apartment complex in Tarpon Springs. Residents of the complex called the police because a man was fervently knocking on apartment doors at 2 a.m. When Officer Kondek arrived on the scene, the subject shot and killed him with a stolen gun. This 17-year veteran of the Tarpon Springs Police Department was a father of six children and was described by friends and family as a hero, coach, and best friend.

Though Officer Kondek’s name is the most recent one to be added to the Fallen Officer Memorial at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, 24 names precede his with similar stories of heroism and dedication. It is their legacy and sacrifice that causes many members of law enforcement, close friends, and family to take time to remember them.

Every May, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office brings special attention to the first responders throughout our county who have died in the line of duty. National Police Week, May 10-16, and Peace Officers Memorial Day, May 15th, are times to show gratitude for the hard work law enforcement officers put into protecting citizens, and to remember the lives that have been lost in service.

Our Fallen Officer Memorial at the Sheriff’s Administration Building gives the families, friends, and colleagues of those who have died a place to remember their legacy and honor their sacrifice.

Thousands of men and women put on their uniforms every day to serve and protect civilians knowing it could be their last day. Whether they are responding to a dangerous shooting, conducting a routine house check for a suspicious neighbor, or like our current public health crisis, interacting with people potentially infected with a deadly virus, law enforcement officers risk their lives for the safety of our citizens. It is their courage and bravery in the face of extreme risk that defines our great nation and gives us the freedom to pursue our dreams.

It is incumbent on us to keep their memory alive. We will always keep them close to our hearts and use their stories to inspire others to serve for the greater good and help make our communities safe.

This May, consider praying for our deputies, taking a moment of silence for those who have died in the line of duty, or showing appreciation for a law enforcement officer you know in the community.

The following names are the fallen officers of Pinellas County who sacrificed their lives for the safety and protection of our citizens.

James Mitchell – 1905

Edward George – 1908

Rueben Jones – 1921

Everett Blewfield – 1926

Wayne Barry – 1929

Eugene Minor – 1929

Frank Pike – 1933

James Thornton – 1937

William Newberry – 1937

James Goodson – 1947

Gene Bessette – 1961

James Krupp – 1964

Harry Conyers, Jr. – 1967

Charles Eustes – 1967

Peter Price – 1969

Lanny Langford – 1969

John Passer – 1970

Ronald Mahony – 1977

Herbert Sullivan – 1980

Margaret Park – 1984

Jeffery Tackett – 1993

Jeffrey Yaslowitz – 2011

Thomas Baitinger – 2011

David Crawford – 2011

Charles Kondek, Jr. – 2014

Posted by Friday, May 1, 2020 9:02:00 AM

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