Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New memorials honor three St. Petersburg officers killed in line of duty

ST. PETERSBURG — Donna Crawford held her husband's silver badge in her left hand, rubbing her thumb back and forth across the word "St. Petersburg" stamped in black across the top. The first "e" is almost worn away. That's how much comfort her husband's badge has brought her in the six months since Officer David Crawford was killed in the line of duty. "It's my sense of self," she said. "I carry it with me always." Another comfort: Monday morning's ceremony that dedicated Fourth Street to the memory of all three officers killed in the line of duty this year: Crawford, Sgt. Thomas Baitinger and K-9 Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz.

The Florida Legislature dedicated a large swath of Fourth Street (State Road 687) to the officers, from the downtown Interstate 175 ramp all the way north to where Fourth ends at Interstate 275 and the Howard Frankland Bridge.

The bill was sponsored by state Sens. Jack Latvala and Arthenia Joyner and Rep. Jim Frishe. They attended the ceremony along with the mayor, City Council, other local elected officials and more than 150 officers and supporters.

Earlier this month, a section of 50th Street in Tampa was dedicated to Tampa Officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab. Both died on the job on that road last year.

Monday's ceremony marked the first time Donna Crawford has spoken publicly since her husband's Feb. 21 death. She said the large memorial sign erected at 470 Third St. S is another memento that also will bring her comfort.

"It's an acknowledgement," she said. "A concrete acknowledgement of what he sacrificed.

"He gave his life."

Crawford was fatally shot while trying to question a suspect downtown, according to St. Petersburg police. Yaslowitz and Baitinger lost their lives a month earlier, on Jan. 24, when they were shot and killed in a gunbattle with a fugitive hiding in an attic.

Donna Crawford was there with her husband's daughter, Amanda. The officer's former wife, Lori Crawford, also was in attendance. Lorraine Yaslowitz attended Monday's ceremony with the couple's three children, her husband's parents, Janice and Harvey Yaslowitz, his sister Stephanie Barnes and his nephews and niece.

Lorraine Yaslowitz admitted that the constant reminders of her husband's loss can be hard to bear.

"It can be emotionally exhausting to keep remembering what it is we're remembering here," she said.

But Monday's ceremony wasn't like that, she said. The whole family beamed as they posed for photos in front of the sign while officers blocked off traffic.

"It's a big honor," Lorraine Yaslowitz said. "It's a big reminder of what he sacrificed.

"It's also a chance for us to say thank you to the community for all they've done for us."

Since her husband's death, Lorraine Yaslowitz has repeatedly spoken in public about the faith she shared with her husband and family. She will do so again Oct. 27, when she will speak at the 10th Mayor's Prayer Breakfast at the Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N.

Paige Baitinger was the only widow who did not attend the ceremony.

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster said the city will be forever grateful to the families for the sacrifice of their husbands and fathers.

"We are humbled as a city," Foster said. "We will forever remain on our knees in prayer, thankful for the sacrifice of these officers.

"We will never, ever forget."

New memorials honor three St. Petersburg officers killed in line of duty 08/15/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 10:29am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Support for gay marriage surges, even among groups once wary

    Nation

    NEW YORK — In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey.

    People gather in Washington's Lafayette Park to see the White House lit up in rainbow colors on June 26, 2015, the day the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage legal. In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey released on Monday, June 26, 2017. [Associated Press]
  2. June 26 marks the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter series.
  3. Air bag recalls, lawsuits lead Takata to file for bankruptcy

    Autos

    Shattered by recall costs and lawsuits, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. filed Monday for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., saying it was the only way it could keep on supplying replacements for faulty air bag inflators linked to the deaths of at least 16 people.

    Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. CEO Shigehisa Takada bows during a press conference in Tokyo on Monday. Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of defective air bag inflators.
[(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]
  4. Philando Castile family reaches $3 million settlement in death

    Crime

    MINNEAPOLIS — The mother of Philando Castile, a black motorist killed by a Minnesota police officer last year, has reached a nearly $3 million settlement in his death, according to an announcement Monday by her attorneys and the Minneapolis suburb that employed the officer.

    A handout dashboard camera image of Officer Jeronimo Yanez firing at Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn., July 6, 2016. [Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension via The New York Times]
  5. From the food editor: Almond-Crusted Chicken Tenders

    Cooking

    I decided my almond chicken obsession was becoming a bit much.

    Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.