LARGO, Fla. - Earlier this year, the Bay Area lost three law enforcement officers in the line of duty within three months. Now, a new Florida law will rename roadways between Hillsborough and Pinellas counties to honor their sacrifice.
A bill was passed by Florida lawmakers this session and signed by Governor Ron DeSantis to memorialize certain roadways to honor Hillsborough County Master Corporal Brian LaVigne, Pinellas County Deputy Michael Magli, and Tampa Police Officer Jesse Madsen.
The signing of the bill took place Friday morning at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
"Naming roads after them is important because a hero remembered never dies. Tens of thousands of people will be reminded daily that Michael Magli, Brian LaVigne, and Jesse Madsen were people. These three officers fought the good fight," Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said on Friday. "We’re not perfect and we don’t claim to be, but we are people who care and lay it out on the line for others, including the risk that one of our names end up on that memorial."
On January 11, Master Corporal Brian LaVigne, a 31-year veteran, was hit and killed by a suspect who was speeding away from deputies. Investigators said the suspect intentionally crashed into LaVigne's patrol car along Lumsden Road. He was one shift away from retiring.
His memorial stretch will be State Road 60 between Interstate 75 and Phillip Lee Boulevard.
LaVigne was 54 years old and joined the agency in 1990. He’s survived by his wife, two adult children – one of whom is also a deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Master Corporal Brian LaVigne, courtesy HCSO
On February 17, Pinellas County Deputy Michael Magli, a 30-year-old husband and father of two, became the first deputy with the sheriff's office to die in the line of duty. He was struck and killed as he tried to deploy stop sticks in the roadway to stop a suspected drunk driver.
Deputy Magli's memorial will be County Road 611 between Forelock and Keystone roads, where the collision occurred.
He joined the ranks back in 2014.
His wife, Stephanie, spoke at the bill signing Friday, thanking the community for their support and kind words following the death of her husband.
"They are amazing men," she said with tears. "Thank you for the passing of this bill that in years to come, as we travel with our families, I can tell my girls that we are on Daddy’s road."
Deputy Michael Magli (Courtesy: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office)
On March 9, Tampa Police Officer Jesse Madsen, a 16-year veteran of the force and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, was killed in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 275 near Sligh Avenue. At the time, Chief Brian Dugan said he believed Madsen intentionally veered into the oncoming vehicle to save others.
Madsen was a seven-time recipient of the Tampa Police Department's Life-Saving Award. His memorial stretch of I-275 will be between East Sligh Avenue and East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Officer Madsen is survived by his wife, his 10-year-old daughter, and two sons, ages 12 and 16.
Officer Jesse Madsen (Courtesy Tampa Police Department)
"I think moments like this should remind all of us that these folks are putting on these uniforms and are putting our safety upon their own safety," Gov. DeSantis said prior to signing the bill. "They’re called upon to risk their lives."
"We’re not going to forget their sacrifices. God bless their memories."