Road dedicated to fallen Tampa heroes | Community Spirit
Tampa, Florida -- An hour before the public unveiling, there was a private moment.
Family members who loved Officer David Curtis stopped to add flowers to a memorial along the street that will soon honor him. One of the three women in the group was Officer Curts' mother, who drove from Alabama to be part of this moment.
Later, they joined the family of Officer Jeffrey Kocab for the formal dedication inside Pepin's Hospitality Centre nearby.
"Your sons, husbands, and your daddies were heroes," State Sen. Jack Latvala (R-St. Petersburg) told the assembled group.
Latvala is one of the local leaders in the Legislature who arranged a commemoration of the courage of these two Tampa Police Department officers.
Together, State Sen. Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa) and Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor lifted a cloth from a replica of one of two brown-and-gold signs.
The real signs, made of metal and standing a dozen feet high, will tell drivers they're on a stretch of 50th Street just north of Interstate 4 that has been given the ceremonial title "Officer Jeffrey A. Kocab and Officer David L. Curtis Memorial Highway."
The signs each stand less than a mile from where these two protectors of peace were gunned down during a traffic stop on June 29, 2010.
The new names are ceremonial, so the road will still officially be N. 50th St. -- maps and GPS units won't change. The Florida Department of Transportation is paying the few thousand dollars it costs to create and install the signs.
"Dave and Jeff were great police officers, and they were good men. But, more importantly, they were our friends and they were our family members," Chief Castor said.
These two brave men will be forever connected. And now they'll be forever honored here, side-by-side.