As another officer was killed, the St. Petersburg Police Department’s ability to handle a crisis was again tested.
When St. Petersburg police officer David Crawford was shot and killed in the line of duty Monday, Feb. 21, officials immediately released press information to the public asking for help catching the shooter, offering deep sympathy for Crawford’s family, explaining what happened that led up to the shooting, and giving a description of the shooter and his believed hiding spot.
This shooting makes Crawford the ninth police officer in Florida to fall in the line of duty this year. The St. Petersburg Police Department is still recovering from the loss of two other officers, Sgt. Thomas Baitinger and K-9 officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz, who were both killed on duty less than a month ago. After this tragedy, a donation fund was set up in memory of the two officers so that anyone could donate money to help the families of the fallen officers. A memorial was also set up in the entrance’s breezeway at the St. Petersburg Police Department so that people from the community could express their condolences. These simple gestures can mean a lot to not only the families but also the community, which helps begin the healing process.
The St. Petersburg Police Department unfortunately has been through the drill before and is familiar with how to handle situations like this. They have offered support to the families of the fallen officers and worked to keep their memories alive. Other than that, there is not much else that can be done.
In the most recent situation with Crawford, the St. Petersburg Police Department has handled everything correctly despite the shock and grief that took over the entire community. To be able to step up and handle not any crisis situation amidst the overwhelming grief for a fallen brother takes tremendous strength and a well-coordinated public relations team.