LARGO — No tribute or plaque can bring back the three Tampa Bay law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty this year. But now drivers on area roads will always be reminded of their names.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed into law a bill renaming portions of roadways in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties for three fallen officers. The bill passed unanimously in the Legislature earlier this year.
The portion of County Road 611 between Forelock and Keystone roads in Pinellas is now called Deputy Michael J. Magli Memorial Road; the portion of State Road 60 between I-75 and Phillip Lee Boulevard in Hillsborough is Sgt. Brian LaVigne Road; and I-275 between East Sligh Avenue and East Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Hillsborough is now Officer Jesse Madsen Memorial Highway.
“I think moments like this should remind all of us that these folks are putting on a uniform and they are putting our safety above their own safety,” DeSantis said at a ceremony at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office headquarters. “And they are called upon to risk their lives and ultimately, if it comes to that, give their lives, and that’s what they did, they saved many lives in the process.”
Magli, 30, a Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputy, was killed on Feb. 17 when the sheriff’s office said he attempted to stop an impaired driver fleeing from other officers. On Friday, his widow, Stephanie Magli, said she hoped her two children and future generations will continue to look at the three men “as the superheroes they are.”
“In years to come as we travel with our families, I can tell my girls, ‘We’re on Daddy’s road,’ and we can talk about stories while we’re driving down that road,” Stephanie Magli said.
On Jan. 11, LaVigne, a 54-year-old husband and father of two, was one shift away from retirement with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office when he was intentionally hit and killed by a man speeding away from deputies, Sheriff Chad Chronister stated at the time. His daughter, Caitlin LaVigne, also a deputy in the sheriff’s office, watched as DeSantis signed into law the bill honoring her father on Friday.
On March 9, Tampa Master Patrol Officer Madsen, 45, intentionally maneuvered his patrol SUV into the path of a speeding, impaired driver on I-275, according to police, in an attempt to stop him and save others. Both men died on impact.
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan on Friday recalled talking to Madsen’s widow, Danyelle, at the time he died and promising her “we will get through this because we don’t have a choice.”
On Friday, Dugan stood with Danyelle Madsen and said he hoped they’d also get through it “because of things like this.”