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1153819 2999-04-26 00:00:00.0 UTC 2999-04-25T20:00:00.000-04:00 2011-02-25 15:45:58.0 UTC 2011-02-25T10:45:58.000-05:00 colleagues-fallen-st-petersburg-officers-tough-exterior-hid-tender-heart Published 2011-02-26 04:05:24.0 UTC 2011-02-25T23:05:24.000-05:00 news/publicsafety/crime DTI 72628779 ST. PETERSBURG — The first day David Dehoyos walked into the police station locker room, he noticed Officer David Crawford standing with two other officers. "My God, that's a big mustache," Dehoyos remembers thinking. He was convinced Crawford, a country boy born and bred, would be a terrible partner for him, since he was a city boy from the Bronx. He soon learned otherwise. Crawford, who usually wore his grumpiness like a turtle wears a shell, turned out to be both a great teacher and a great friend, sharing barbecues and fishing trips. "My daughters called him 'the Big Teddy Bear,' " said Dehoyos, now a Department of Defense employee. Crawford died in a hail of bullets Monday night while checking a report of a prowler. Police say Nicholas Lindsey, 16, has admitted shooting the officer. Dehoyos was one of several current and former St. Petersburg police officers who stood in the glare of television lights Friday morning to share memories of Crawford, who joined the force in 1985. Every one of them looked big and tough. Every one of them struggled to choke back tears. Some failed. By far the biggest of them, and the one closest to Crawford, was retired Officer Mike Roberts. Roberts is black, Crawford was white, but Roberts said, "He was more than just my best friend. He was my brother." Both served on the midnight shift for years. In fact, Crawford insisted on working the midnight shift nearly his entire career. Partly it was so he could spend days with his family, Roberts said. But partly it was because "the city at night is a completely different place." The squad that worked midnights relied on each other more, and became tighter friends. It wasn't a flashy job — no bank robbery calls — but one that affected many people's lives. They dealt with residential and car burglaries, and lots of domestic violence calls. Those became something of a specialty for Crawford. Despite his intimidating size and gunfighter's mustache, Crawford could be gentle and compassionate with victims. He made sure they got the treatment they needed, and if they needed a place for the night he'd make sure they made it to a domestic violence shelter. Yet he also knew how to talk to the aggressors so that, by the time he was done, they were thanking him for his help, Dehoyos and Roberts said. "As big as Dave was, his heart was bigger," Dehoyos said. Crawford never talked about why he took so much time with domestic violence cases, Sgt. Karl Lounge said, but he was so expert at it that he taught other officers the right way to handle them. "I called him my diamond in the rough," said retired Sgt. Katy Connor-Dubina, who selected Crawford as part of a pilot program for special domestic violence training provided through federal grants. "Because he was so well read, he really understood the concept." If you had asked Crawford, 46, to define himself, he'd say he was "a crusty old veteran," Lounge said. "He was never at a loss for words, and if he had an opinion, he said it." If you saw him at the station and asked how he was doing, Crawford would grumble that it didn't matter, nobody cared, and anyway it was time to get rolling. But away from work, he dropped the tough facade and let himself smile. He was a proud father, always boasting about the accomplishments of his daughter, Amanda. When she was younger, he made it a point to meet her school bus every day. He bowled with Roberts in the Police Olympics. He was an avid reader of crime novels. He loved baseball, turning part of his home into a shrine for every bit of Tampa Bay Rays memorabilia he could find. He worked security at Rays games, usually standing near the first-base foul pole. "He'd try to trade to get that corner," Lounge said. And he loved pulling practical jokes on his friends, especially when they visited his rural home. "He had so much fun watching this city boy on the farm," Dehoyos said. He said he couldn't really talk about some of the pranks, blushing. In short, Lounge said, "Dave was a hell of a guy." His loss is bitter for the department, but making it even harder to take is the fact that it comes less than 30 days after the Jan. 24 killing of Sgt. Tom Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz. "We've barely caught our breath from a month ago, and now we have to lay down another brother," Detective Eric Holmes said. A viewing is scheduled for Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. and a memorial service is Tuesday at 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church on Gandy Boulevard — the same church where the funeral for Baitinger and Yaslowitz was held. Craig Pittman can be reached at craig@sptimes.com. By Craig Pittman, Times Staff Writer News,CrawfordShot,breakingnews,breaking-news,Public Safety,Crime,Pinellas 803537482001 Colleagues: Fallen St. Petersburg officer's tough exterior hid tender heart By Craig Pittman Colleagues share memories of fallen St. Petersburg Officer David Crawford. 4STB Main dhvjzrzmu2vc dhvjz Gruff facade hid a gentle heart st. petersburg 1 Crawford022611.4st Gruff facade hid a gentle heart 2011-02-26 05:00:00.0 UTC 2011-02-26T00:00:00.000-05:00 David Crawford, left, and retired Officer Mike Roberts worked midnight shifts, when the city &#8220;is a completely different place.&#8221; resources/images/dti/2011/02/B4S_Crawford022611_164447a.jpg St. Petersburg Police Department resources/images/dti/rendered/2011/02/B4S_Crawford022611_164447a_4col.jpgresources/images/dti/rendered/2011/02/B4S_Crawford022611_164447a_8col.jpg &#8220;As big as Dave was, his heart was bigger,&#8221; former St. Petersburg Officer David Dehoyos said. resources/images/dti/2011/02/B4S_Dehoyos022611_164446a.jpg CHERIE DIEZ | Times resources/images/dti/rendered/2011/02/B4S_Dehoyos022611_164446a_4col.jpgresources/images/dti/rendered/2011/02/B4S_Dehoyos022611_164446a_8col.jpg A tearful Mike Roberts said that Crawford &#8220;was more than just my best friend. He was my brother.&#8221; resources/images/dti/2011/02/B4S_Roberts022611_164445a.jpg CHERIE DIEZ | Times resources/images/dti/rendered/2011/02/B4S_Roberts022611_164445a_4col.jpgresources/images/dti/rendered/2011/02/B4S_Roberts022611_164445a_8col.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/StaffArticle/data/2011/02/25/72628779-colleagues-fallen-st-petersburg-officers-tough-exterior-hid-tender-heart StaffArticle news,public safetyPublic Safetynews,public safety,crimeCrimeST. PETERSBURG — The first day David Dehoyos walked into the police station locker room, he noticed Officer David Crawford standing with two other officers.News,CrawfordShot,breakingnews,breaking-news,Public Safety,Crime,PinellasNews,CrawfordShot,breakingnews,breaking-news,Public Safety,Crime,PinellasCraig Pittman 381007 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2012-10-25 12:33:04.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:33:04.000-04:00 craig-pittman published Craig Pittman <p><i>Tampa Bay Times</i> reporter Craig Pittman is a native Floridian. He graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where his muckraking work for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label him "the most destructive force on campus." Since then he has covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Since 1998 he has reported on environmental issues for the <i>Times</i>. He is a four-time winner of the <a href=" http://masscom.usf.edu/services/waldo/">Waldo Proffitt Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism in Florida</a> and <a href=" http://www.sptimes.com/2005/webspecials05/wetlands/">a series of stories on Florida's vanishing wetlands</a> that he wrote with Matthew Waite won the top investigative reporting award in both 2006 and 2007 from the Society of Environmental Journalists. He is the author of four books: <a href=" http://www.amazon.com/Scent-Scandal-Betrayal-Beautiful-Florida/dp/0813039746"> "The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid"</a> (2012); <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Manatee-Insanity-Floridas-Endangered-Species/dp/0813034620/ref=la_B001JS8EZU_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1352503712&sr=1-2">"Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida's Most Famous Endangered Species,"</a> (2010); and, co-written with Waite, <a href=" http://www.amazon.com/Paving-Paradise-Floridas-Vanishing-Wetlands/dp/0813032865">"Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss,"</a> (2009). His new book, < a href="http://www.amazon.com/Oh-Florida-Americas-Weirdest-Influences-ebook/dp/B019CB3UNQ"> "Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country,"</a>hits stores in July 2016. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and two children.</p> Times Staff Writer writers DTI 33745076 Tampa Bay Times reporter Craig Pittman is a native Floridian. He graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where his muckraking work for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label him "the most destructive force on campus." Since then he has covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Since 1998 he has reported on environmental issues for the Times. He is a four-time winner of the Waldo Proffitt Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism in Florida and a series of stories on Florida's vanishing wetlands that he wrote with Matthew Waite won the top investigative reporting award in both 2006 and 2007 from the Society of Environmental Journalists. He is the author of four books: "The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid" (2012); "Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida's Most Famous Endangered Species," (2010); and, co-written with Waite, "Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss," (2009). His new book, "Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country,"hits stores in July 2016. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and two children. <p>Phone: (727) 893-8530</p><p>Email: <a href="mailto:craig@tampabay.com ">craig@tampabay.com</a> </p><p>Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/craigtimes">@CraigTimes</a></p> 1 WEB ONLY -- don't use for print. Times staffer Craig Pittman sig shot. /resources/images/dti/2016/03/Pittman_Craig_16811038.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/AuthorProfile/data/33745076-craig-pittman AuthorProfile 2012-10-25 12:33:04.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:33:04.000-04:00 <span style="display:none;" class="author vcard"><span class="fn">CRAIG PITTMAN</span></span><span style="display:none;" class="source-org vcard"><span class="org fn">Tampa Bay Times</span></span><a rel="item-license" href="/universal/user_agreement.shtml">&#169; 2016 Tampa Bay Times</a><br /><br />Times Staff Writer 2262305 2016-01-21 23:06:43.0 UTC 7 Months Ago st-petersburg-police-officer-fails-to-stop-at-intersection-hits-another-car news/publicsafety/accidents St. Petersburg police officer fails to stop at intersection, hits another car StaffArticle 2281813 2016-06-15 20:27:49.0 UTC 2 Months Ago charges-against-hillsborough-firefighters-in-confrontation-with-st news/publicsafety/crime Charges against Hillsborough firefighters in confrontation with St. Petersburg officer dismissed StaffArticle 2278618 2016-05-23 20:38:49.0 UTC 3 Months Ago officer-in-utility-vehicle-struck-at-downtown-st-petersburg-intersection news/publicsafety/accidents Officer in police ATV struck at downtown St. Petersburg intersection (w/video) StaffArticle <p>ST. PETERSBURG — The first day David Dehoyos walked into the police station locker room, he noticed Officer David Crawford standing with two other officers.</p> <p>&quot;My God, that's a big mustache,&quot; Dehoyos remembers thinking. He was convinced Crawford, a country boy born and bred, would be a terrible partner for him, since he was a city boy from the Bronx.</p> <p>He soon learned otherwise. Crawford, who usually wore his grumpiness like a turtle wears a shell, turned out to be both a great teacher and a great friend, sharing barbecues and fishing trips.</p> <p>&quot;My daughters called him 'the Big Teddy Bear,' &quot; said Dehoyos, now a Department of Defense employee.</p> <p>Crawford died in a hail of bullets Monday night while checking a report of a prowler. Police say Nicholas Lindsey, 16, has admitted shooting the officer.</p> <p>Dehoyos was one of several current and former St. Petersburg police officers who stood in the glare of television lights Friday morning to share memories of Crawford, who joined the force in 1985.</p> <p>Every one of them looked big and tough. Every one of them struggled to choke back tears.</p> <p>Some failed.</p> <p>By far the biggest of them, and the one closest to Crawford, was retired Officer Mike Roberts. Roberts is black, Crawford was white, but Roberts said, &quot;He was more than just my best friend. He was my brother.&quot;</p> <p>Both served on the midnight shift for years. In fact, Crawford insisted on working the midnight shift nearly his entire career. Partly it was so he could spend days with his family, Roberts said. But partly it was because &quot;the city at night is a completely different place.&quot;</p> <p>The squad that worked midnights relied on each other more, and became tighter friends. It wasn't a flashy job — no bank robbery calls — but one that affected many people's lives. They dealt with residential and car burglaries, and lots of domestic violence calls. Those became something of a specialty for Crawford.</p> <p>Despite his intimidating size and gunfighter's mustache, Crawford could be gentle and compassionate with victims. He made sure they got the treatment they needed, and if they needed a place for the night he'd make sure they made it to a domestic violence shelter.</p> <p>Yet he also knew how to talk to the aggressors so that, by the time he was done, they were thanking him for his help, Dehoyos and Roberts said.</p> <p>&quot;As big as Dave was, his heart was bigger,&quot; Dehoyos said.</p> <p>Crawford never talked about why he took so much time with domestic violence cases, Sgt. Karl Lounge said, but he was so expert at it that he taught other officers the right way to handle them.</p> <p>&quot;I called him my diamond in the rough,&quot; said retired Sgt. Katy Connor-Dubina, who selected Crawford as part of a pilot program for special domestic violence training provided through federal grants. &quot;Because he was so well read, he really understood the concept.&quot;</p> <p>If you had asked Crawford, 46, to define himself, he'd say he was &quot;a crusty old veteran,&quot; Lounge said. &quot;He was never at a loss for words, and if he had an opinion, he said it.&quot;</p> <p>If you saw him at the station and asked how he was doing, Crawford would grumble that it didn't matter, nobody cared, and anyway it was time to get rolling. But away from work, he dropped the tough facade and let himself smile.</p> <p>He was a proud father, always boasting about the accomplishments of his daughter, Amanda. When she was younger, he made it a point to meet her school bus every day.</p> <p>He bowled with Roberts in the Police Olympics. He was an avid reader of crime novels. He loved baseball, turning part of his home into a shrine for every bit of Tampa Bay Rays memorabilia he could find. He worked security at Rays games, usually standing near the first-base foul pole.</p> <p>&quot;He'd try to trade to get that corner,&quot; Lounge said.</p> <p>And he loved pulling practical jokes on his friends, especially when they visited his rural home. &quot;He had so much fun watching this city boy on the farm,&quot; Dehoyos said. He said he couldn't really talk about some of the pranks, blushing.</p> <p>In short, Lounge said, &quot;Dave was a hell of a guy.&quot;</p> <p>His loss is bitter for the department, but making it even harder to take is the fact that it comes less than 30 days after the Jan. 24 killing of Sgt. Tom Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz.</p> <p>&quot;We've barely caught our breath from a month ago, and now we have to lay down another brother,&quot; Detective Eric Holmes said.</p> <p>A viewing is scheduled for Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. and a memorial service is Tuesday at 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church on Gandy Boulevard — the same church where the funeral for Baitinger and Yaslowitz was held. </p> <p><i>Craig Pittman can be reached </i> <i>at craig@sptimes.com.</i></p>trueruntime2016-08-30 05:57:56