Trooper of the Year
1995 – Trooper Carlos R. Velesquez – Troop G
Trooper Velasquez was working off-duty directing traffic at the intersection of Post Street and McDuff Avenue. The traffic became congested and several vehicles stopped on the railroad tracks that were near the intersection. An approaching CSX train caused the signal device to activate, and the crossing arms to come down, trapping one of the vehicles on the tracks. Trooper Velasquez ran over and assisted two adults and three small children to safety. The train slammed into their vehicle no more than three seconds after Trooper Velasquez cleared the occupants from the vehicle. The vehicle was knocked over 100 feet down the tracks.
1994 – Trooper Kevin J. Conner and Trooper Marino A. Cuesta – Troop E
Their recognition stems from separate shooting incidents where the troopers wer actively fighting violent criminals.
1993 – Trooper Melody A. Barron – Troop L
Trooper Barron arrived on the scene of a crash involving a tractor-trailer carrying hazardous materials. The driver of the truck was overcome by the fumes and was unable to escape from the cab. She entered the vehicle and pulled him to safety.
1992 – Trooper Mark T. McGlynn – Troop K
Trooper McGlynn was on routine patrol on the Turnpike when he discovered a car that had crashed into a canal. The vehicle was submerging with two young females inside. The women were semi-conscious and unable to get out. Trooper McGlynn pulled both victims from the vehicle as it sank.
1991 – Trooper Andrew R. Smith – Troop E
Trooper Smith saved the lives of two women on April 1, 1990. His calm and alert actions upon observing an altercation and exchange of gunfire, resulted in the apprehension of two suspects involved in a fatal shooting.
1990 – Trooper Milton J. Busby – Troop D
Trooper Busby was named Trooper of the Year for two separate incidents. In the first incident, he arrested an armed robber after a high-wpeed chase; he singlehandedly stopped and arrested the suspect. In the second incident, a baby had fallen into a pool. Trooper Busby rescued the child, administered CPR and resuscitated him.
1989 – Trooper Edgardo C. Torres – Troop C
Trooper Torres was directing traffic on Interstate 275 because an exit ramp was flooded. He observed a vehicle drive into an obscured flooded drainage ditch that was twenty feet deep. He rushed to the scene and dove into the ditch after the sinking vehicle. He and three passing citizens successfully rescued three people from the submerged vehicle. He was advised there was a fourth person in the car. Disregarding his own safety, he tied a rope around his waist and dove into the water three times attempting to locate and free the driver. He was unsuccessful due to the terrific force of the water exiting the drain.
1988 – Trooper Anthony L. Parker
1987 – Trooper Ronald E. Davis
1986 – Trooper Ronald E. Davis – Troop D
Trooper Davis investigated an apparent hit and run traffic crash. After an exhaustive and lengthy investigation, including interviews with 100 witnesses, Trooper Davis determined the deceased was struck in the head and thrown into the path of an oncoming car. Trooper Davis arrested the perpetrator who is currently serving time in Florida’s State Prison.
1985 – Trooper Barney J. Stallworth – Troop A
Trooper Stallworth made 170 felony arrests, recovered nine stolen vehicles, apprehended nine felons wanted in other states and seized over one million dollars worth of illegal drugs. More noteworthy, however, were his actions in saving the lives of two people who had taken a drug overdose; one in January 1985 and another in February 1985.
1984 – Trooper Clark L. Williams – Troop B
Trooper Williams was off-duty and he and his son were waiting for his wife in their car in a small parking lot. He heard a person screaming and looked up to see a woman with her hands raised and getting out of a car with a man pointing a gun at her. Trooper Williams, unarmed and in civilian clothes, ran toward the man and woman yelling “Don’t shoot her.” The man released the woman, pointed the gun at Williams, then turned and ran. Trooper Williams ran him down and apprehended him.
1983 – Trooper Dennis J. Sorrells – Troop K
Trooper Sorrells apprehended an escaped illegal alien for the U. S. Border Patrol. The alien, while fleeing, tried to swim a canal, became entangled in vegetation and began to sink. Trooper Sorrells jumped into the canal and rescued the person, saving his life.
1982 – Trooper Larry M. Costanzo – Troop F
Trooper Contanzo was on routine patrol when he observed fire coming from a condominium. He entered the building and was able to alert and lead several people to safety. During the ordeal, Trooper Costanzo was overcome by smoke and had to be removed from the building.
1981 – Trooper Richard E. Davis – Troop G
Trooper Davis apprehended an escaped prisoner who had killed Trooper Robert P. McDermon and a civilian, Floyd Cone, Jr., and was holding a female hostage with her eight month old child. He gained the confidence of the murderer, imploring him not to harm the hostages and to surrender.
1980 – Trooper R. E. Williams – Troop B
Trooper Williams entered a burning house and assisted a family in getting some of their possessions out. He then re-entered the house when one of the sons went back for Christmas presents. Earlier, he had removed two of the sons who were standing uner a burning power line which later broke and fell where the boys had been standing.
1979 – Trooper L. T. Hailey – Troop G
Trooper Hailey negotiated the surrender of a subject who allegedly shot a man three times, then took his own family as hostages at gunpoint.
1978 – Trooper J. R. Moates and Trooper C. L. Pascoe – Troop F
Troopers Moates and Pascoe climbed to the top of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, 290 feet about the water level and wrestled with a suspect who was about to jump. With help from the fire department, the man was brought down safely.
1977 – Trooper R. S. Wargin – Troop E
Trooper Wargin apprehended a suspect who had kidnapped a 12 year old, possibly preventing the death of the victim.
1976 – Trooper S. P. Allain – Troop K
Trooper Allain received the award for two incidents. First, he was in a high speed chase of two robbers. He was shot at, remained calm an did not return fire because of innocent bystanders. Second, he was called to a service plaza where he found a newborn male infant lying on a bathroom floor. He immediately cleared the baby’s nose and throat, tied off the umbilical cord and rushed the child to the hospital.
1975 – Trooper J. C. Hall – Troop E
Trooper Hall dove into a 22 foot deep roadside canal and rescued the occupant of a vehicle that had careened into the canal.
1974 – Trooper K. M. King – Troop F
Trooper King prevented two possible suicides on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. His quick action saved the lives of two men who were in the process of hurling themselves off the bridge.
1973 – Trooper D. A. Payne – Troop C
Trooper Payne was on duty when he observed a crash in which one person was killed and five people were trapped in two burning vehicles. With great risk to himself, he rescued the five victims from almost certain death and certainly saved them from severe burns.
1972 – Trooper G. P. Buchanan – Troop E
Trooper Buchanan while answering a burglar alarm, observed a man holding a revolver on a secretary. The secretary was in the line of fire so he could not shoot. The armed robber spun around and fired, striking Trooper Buchanan in the left jaw, causing him to fall to the floor. As the robber ran out he fired again striking Buchanan in the shoulder. Though seriously wounded, Trooper Buchanan was able to fire at the robber, hitting him twice. One bullet severed the robber’s spinal cord.
1971 – Trooper G. S. Paulk – Troop B
Trooper Paulk saved the lives of three women who were overcome by carbon monoxide fumes. He administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to two of them several times. He sent one of them to the hospital in an ambulance and carried the other two in his car. After reaching the hospital, he assisted in keeping them alive until the doctors arrived and took over.
1970 – Trooper C. W. Johnson – Troop A
Trooper Johnson was advised four people were drowning in the Gulf of Mexico; Trooper Johnson went into the water, which was very rough, and with the aid of some bystanders effected the rescue. One young woman had no pulse or heartbeat so they immediately began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and cardiac massage. Although they did everything possible, she was dead on arrival at the hospital.
1969 – Trooper C. R. Mabry and Trooper L. F. Mullis – Troop B
Troopers Mabry and Mullis rescued a victim who had fallen into a cave. The two troopers went into the cave; using a rope, one of them went approximately 60 feet into a hole where he administered first aid and directed the rescue.
1968 – Trooper J. A. Powell – Troop A
Trooper Powell acted courageously when he pulled his revolver and shot through the back window of a car, striking a subject in the head who had kidnapped a minister and was holding a shotgun to the minister’s head, threatening to kill him.
1967 – Trooper J. W. Harrison – Troop F
Trooper Harrison was shot four times by a subject he had apprehended for speeding. Trooper Harrison drew his revolver and fired six times, three of which struck his assailant, killing him instantly.
1966 – Trooper Rex M. McIntyre – Troop A
Trooper McIntyre risked his own life when he prevented the death of a young woman trapped beneath a fallen sea wall in Panama City during the height of Hurricane Betsy’s devastatingly high winds and tides.
1965 – Trooper Q. O. Whittle – Troop H
Trooper Whittle was recognized for the courageous and calm manner in which he apprehended two armed and dangerous felons wanted for armed robbery, rape and other crimes.