LARGO -- A Hillsborough deputy, a Pinellas deputy and a Tampa police officer who gave their lives on the job will be honored permanently on Tampa Bay area roadways.
Governor Ron DeSantis, appearing at the Pinellas Sheriff's Office, signed a bill into law that puts the name of Deputy Michael Magli on a stretch of McMullen Booth Road. It also renames part of State Road 60 in Brandon for Deputy Brian Lavigne, and part of I-275 for Tampa police officer Jesse Madsen.
Magli died in February when a car operated by a suspected drunk driver smashed into his patrol car. Lavigne was killed January 11th, responding to a disturbance. Deputies say the suspect deliberately rammed his cruiser, causing his death on the very week he was set to retire. Madsen crashed his car to stop a drunk driver who was going the wrong way on I-275 in March.
Family members of all three lawmen attended the bill signing. Magli's widow Stephanie thanked the governor. "In years to come, when we travel with our families, I can tell my girls 'we're on Daddy's road', and we can tell stories while we're driving down that road."
Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says he hopes the three will be remembered forever, "because a hero remembered never dies."
The governor said signing the bill sends an important message in times when "certain folks treat law enforcement (poorly)... these folks are putting on a uniform and putting our safety above their own safety."
DeSantis has been critical of efforts to "defund the police" and signs a bill that all but prevents local communities from cutting police budgets. He's also called out critical race theory as a means to teach young people to hate police.
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