Florida's 2009 officer of the year nominees include St. Petersburg detective, Tampa FDLE agent

They are officers from opposite sides of the bay, representing two different spectrums of law enforcement.

One is an undercover St. Petersburg detective whose job it is to hunt down and arrest the city's most dangerous criminals. It's a job that nearly got him killed in 2008.

The other is a Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent in Tampa who helped uncover thieves accused of stealing millions from retailers.

Both Tampa Bay area officers were among the 12 nominated statewide for the Attorney General's Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award for 2009, which was handed out in Tallahassee on Wednesday.

FDLE Agent Terry R. Corn was honored for helping crack open two different rings of thieves. One was stealing millions in baby formulate across Central Florida, authorities said, while the other was stealing health and beauty supplies.

The identity of the St. Petersburg detective is being withheld by the St. Petersburg Times because he continues to work undercover with the same unit he was with when he was wounded in April 2008.

The Crime Awareness Surveillance and Enforcement unit, or CASE, is an undercover team that specializes in surveillance and capture.

The 38-year-old detective, a father of two, was wounded while trailing the suspects in a series of pharmacy robberies. When the gang decided to rob the Blockbuster at 5100 66th St. N, the detective was critically wounded helping arrest the suspects.

But by that December he was back on desk duty, and by July 2009 back with the CASE unit. Why was he so eager to return to the same unit?

"It's just a passion to catch criminals," the detective said. "We have so many that get away with doing things. But to be in a unit that actually apprehends them just after the crime occurs, it's a feeling you can't describe."

The Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award for 2009 award went to Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Detective Jared Reston, who was nearly killed in a January 2008 shootout with a shoplifter. The shoplifter was killed after pulling out a weapon at close range and shooting the detective in the chin and upper and lower body.

Florida's 2009 officer of the year nominees include St. Petersburg detective, Tampa FDLE agent 01/27/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 11:15pm]

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