3 fallen Florida lawmen honored with road namings

Writer: Derrick Shaw
Gov. Ron DeSantis (Credit: Pool)

Three fallen Florida lawmen will be long remembered for their heroism and ultimate sacrifice to their communities after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law Friday designating portions of the state’s roadways in their honor.

Hillsborough Sheriff’s Sgt. Brian LaVigne was one shift from retirement in January when a fleeing suspect crashed into his cruiser.

About a month later, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Magli died while trying to apprehend a drunken driver.

Tampa Police Officer Jesse Madsen sacrificed his life in March when he used his patrol SUV to shield other motorists from a vehicle driving the wrong way. The oncoming vehicle crashed into Madsen’s SUV, and both drivers died at the scene.

“These were men who put the safety of their communities above their own safety,” the governor said during a bill signing ceremony at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in Largo, Florida. As he signed the bill into law, the Republican governor was flanked by the widows of two of the fallen officers. LaVigne’s daughter, who had followed her father into law enforcement, also looked on.

“This important bill indelibly honors these fallen law enforcement officers and naming roads after them is important because a hero remembered never dies,” said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

The new law authorizes state officials to erect signs dedicating stretches of roadways in the honor of the lawmen.

Earlier in the day, the governor also signed a bill that would allow ambulances to transport injured law enforcement animals.

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