Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg officers, families remember fallen comrades in Washington D.C.

The black T-shirts are emblazoned with the names of three St. Petersburg officers lost in the line of duty last year: Tom Baitinger, David Crawford and Jeffrey Yaslowitz. Already familiar locally, the shirts were out in force this weekend in Washington, D.C.

More than 250 members of the St. Petersburg Police Department and their families traveled to the capitol for National Police Week to see the names of the city's fallen officers added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

But what struck St. Petersburg Maj. Melanie Bevan was how many different T-shirts there were.

"Everywhere you looked, you had people with pictures of their fallen heroes on their shirts," she said. "We were all turning to each other and saying how sorry we were."

The St. Petersburg contingent's busy week will end today when Baitinger, Crawford and Yaslowitz are honored as their families and fellow officers watch on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building. The ceremony will remember the 162 officers who died in the line of duty last year and the 199 officers whose past deaths recently came to light.

"Since this tragedy, the Tampa Bay area has come to know Jeff, Tom and Dave as local heroes," Bevan said. "But (today) they become national heroes. I can't imagine a more fitting tribute for the three of them."

Lorraine Yaslowitz, whose husband died along with Baitinger on Jan. 24, 2011, took her three children to the ceremonies. She also ran in Saturday morning's 5K memorial run with four officers, including Bevan. Later that day, the St. Petersburg group watched as 12 of their own biked with the Police Unity Tour.

On Sunday, the St. Petersburg group had breakfast near the White House at a famous local haunt, the Old Ebbitt Grill. Paige Baitinger, wife of the fallen sergeant, paid for the breakfast, but did not attend.

Baitinger's parents hosted the breakfast in their son's honor. Detective Mark Marland spoke about his friend to the crowd and reminded them that breakfast was Baitinger's favorite meal.

The candlelight vigil was Sunday night. Amanda Crawford attended the ceremony in honor of her father, David, who died Feb. 21, 2011.

Then on Monday, four sergeants from St. Petersburg's honor guard — Ed Borrelli, Marlin Heyward, Tim Montanari and Frank Williams — laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

"It was a great, great honor for us to be allowed to do that," Bevan said.

St. Petersburg officers, families remember fallen comrades in Washington D.C. 05/14/12 [Last modified: Monday, May 14, 2012 11:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Behind the Lens: To capture an exhilarating moment, it's better to be lucky AND good


    Editor's note: Boyzell Hosey, our Assistant Managing Editor - Photography/Multimedia, shot this image while on a family vacation in Alaska. Below is his description of the shot.

  2. Council candidate James Scott sees a green future for St. Petersburg

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG — James Scott's central tenet is sustainability.

    St. Petersburg City Council District 6 candidate James Scott. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   TIMES]
  3. O.J. Simpson drawing world attention during plea for freedom


    LOVELOCK, Nev. — Former football star and convicted felon O.J. Simpson will command the world's attention once again Thursday when he pleads for his freedom on live TV.

    In this June 21, 1995 file photo, O.J. Simpson holds up his hands before the jury after putting on a new pair of gloves similar to the infamous bloody gloves during his double-murder trial in Los Angeles. During Simpson's trial, a prosecutor famously asks him to put on a pair of gloves allegedly worn by the killer. The gloves appeared to be too tight, reinforcing the immortal words of defense attorney Johnnie Cochran: "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." [AP Photo/Vince Bucci, Pool]
  4. Florida education news: lawsuits, trans rights, recess and more


    ANOTHER ONE: Palm Beach County may be the next School Board to pick a legal fight with the state over the controversial HB 7069, but they may do it alone. Board members Wednesday seemed conflicted about whether to participate with other school boards, like Broward and St. Lucie counties, in a joint lawsuit or sue on …

    Ya'riah Ellison, 6, of Tampa, works on a pop art self portrait at the Glazer Children's Museum in Tampa on Friday, July 14, 2017. On Thursday, July 20th, a new pop art exhibition will open in which children will be able to create self portraits in a variety of ways including screen printing, pointillism and pop art methods
  5. Looking Back: The Ybor City Streetcar gets a new life (December 27, 1991)


    Before World War II Tampa's public transportation needs were covered by a network of Birney streetcars, with a peak of 24 million passengers in 1926. When a local streetcar enthusiast came across a 1920's model, she contacted the Tampa Trolley Society with an eye towards restoration. That streetcar would become the part …