Tampa police honor 31 fallen officers
TAMPA - Every year, Barbara Berlin Barber tries to take part in the Tampa Police Department’s memorial ceremony for its fallen officers. She wants to pass the memory of her late husband, Tampa police Detective Kenneth Berlin Jr., to her children and grandchildren. She attended Tuesday night’s service outside of the Tampa police headquarters in downtown Tampa with her daughter, Marcy Hampton, and granddaughter, Bree Ann Hampton. “(It’s) so that they aren’t forgotten, so that the legacy of the family is not forgotten,” Barber said. Detective Berlin, who worked undercover narcotics in the 1970s, died in a crash on his way back to the station.The crash happened on Sept. 27, 1975. Barber, who was 28 and lived in Brandon at the time, was suddenly a widow with two small children. Police officers, city council members, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and police Chief Jane Castor paid tribute to the 31 Tampa officers who have died in the line of duty. The first Tampa police death occurred on Sept. 26, 1895, when Officer John McCormick died after being shot. The last Tampa police deaths occurred on June 29, 2010, when Officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab were shot. The names of all officers who died in the line of duty were read. There was a 21-gun salute. Police helicopters flew over and a musician played the bagpipe. The atmosphere was gloomy, sad and reflective. Castor praised the officers and their families. She said police officers are a rare breed to take on a demanding and risky job. For family and friends of officers who died, she reminded them that the officer’s service made a difference and we should honor their legacy by good works and deeds. “A simple act of kindness, a helping hand,” Castor said.