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Fallen Officer's Duty Gear Returned to Family After 57 Years

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In 1965, while responding to a burglary call, Officer William Krikava of the Tampa Police Department was tragically killed in the line of duty. After being granted a change of venue, one of the defendants was tried in Duval County and sentenced to prison for second degree murder.

The evidence entered by the State Attorney's Office into the case included Officer Krikava's service belt, uniform hat, department-authorized firearm, and a collection of articles and tributes to the fallen officer. Under Florida law, this evidence has been in the possession of the Duval County Clerk of Courts for the last 57 years.

As the case file had recently met its retention requirements, Duval County Clerk's Senior Manager for Evidence and Records Management wanted to commemorate Officer Krikava's heroic actions and transfer his personal effects back to the Tampa Police Department.

Working closely with Investigator Tom Brady of the State Attorney's Office, 4th Judicial Circuit of Florida, the Duval County Clerk's Office received an order from Circuit Judge Adrian Soud, authorizing the release of these the items back to Officer Krikava's department.

Tampa Police Detectives Mark Belmonte and Jim Smith traveled to Jacksonville, and accepted the items on behalf of the Tampa Police Department, officially transferring the items back to their rightful home.

Tammy Krikava, daughter of fallen officer William Krikava, along with other family members, joined Chief Mary O'Connor and her executive staff for a private gathering at Tampa Police Department on Thursday. Chief O'Connor returned Officer Krikava's personal belongings to Tammy.

Chief O'Connor also posthumously bestowed the Purple Shield upon Officer Krikava. This award is presented to an officer who suffers  a permanent or life changing wound or injury or death while in the line of duty; and, whose injuries or death are the direct result of a weapon used against the officer while taking police action.

Tammy Krikava was also presented with the Tampa Police Department Gold Cross, which is awarded to the family of an officer who was killed or died under honorable conditions while in the line of duty.

These awards did not exist in 1965 when Officer Krikava made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Tampa Police Department would like to thank the Duval County Clerk of Court for preserving Officer Krikava's items, so they could be returned to the family decades later.