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Senator Book, District 32 — Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 16, 2019

CONTACT: Zoraida Druckman, 9544246674


Fallen Tampa Officer Road Designation by Senator Book Part of Governor-Signed Transportation Package

Senator Lauren Book’s Amendment Honors Fallen Officers Statewide

Tallahassee, FL —

HB 385, a bill relating to transportation sponsored by Senator Manny Diaz Jr. (R-Hialeah) and Representative Bryan Avila (R-Miami Springs), has been signed into law by Governor DeSantis. While the primary content of this bill pertains to Miami-Dade County transportation issues, it contains a critical amendment filed by Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation) identifying all fallen Florida Highway Patrol officers who have not been recognized for their service with an honorary transportation facility designation – including those from the Tampa area.  

“The brave men and women of the Florida Highway Patrol work day and night to keep our most dangerous roadways safe—sacrificing time with their own families, to protect and serve ours,” says Senator Lauren Book. “I want to thank Senator Diaz and Representative Avila for allowing this amendment to their bill to ensure those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty are honored for their bravery.”

Senator Book’s amendment creates designations for 26 officers in various counties in honor of their ultimate sacrifice in service to the people of the State of Florida, including the following from the Tampa area:

  • Sergeant John C. Baxter, Jr.

Sergeant Baxter was in an airplane crash in Manatee County while assisting in the search for a suspect in four armed robberies.

Sergeant Baxter had served the residents of Florida, with the Florida Highway Patrol, for 25 years. His career with FHP began August 1, 1960. He was in the 20th recruit class in Tallahassee, from January 19 to April 8, 1961.  He was stationed in Brooksville, Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota and Bradenton.  At the time of his death, he was 57.

•     Trooper John C. Hagerty

Trooper Hagerty was piloting a traffic plane over Lakeland when he was struck by a low-flying U.S. Navy jet.

Trooper Hagerty had served the residents of Florida, with the Florida Highway Patrol, for 13 years. His career with FHP began October 15, 1956. He was in the 15th recruit class in Tallahassee, from October 15 to December 7, 1956.  He was stationed in Frostproof, Punta Gorda, Stuart and Orlando.  At the time of his death, he was 44.

“I am glad to team up with Senator Book to honor our fallen law enforcement officers in this legislation,” says Senator Diaz. “It’s the right thing to do.”

While the core of HB 385 relates to Miami-Dade County, Sen. Book’s amendment recognizes fallen officers from across the State of Florida.