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Tampa PD honoring heroes at First Quarter Awards Ceremony

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In gratitude to the many employees of the Tampa Police Department and citizens who have exhibited acts of heroism, bravery, or kindness over the past several months, Tampa PD will host its first quarterly awards ceremony on Thursday, January 19, 2023, recognizing these unsung heroes.

The Quarterly Awards Ceremony, which will be held four times a year, replaces the department's previous monthly awards ceremony, where employees were recognized for their years of service and exemplary performance.

One of many awards included in the ceremony will be officers being recognized for the Life Saving Award.

On August 5, 2022, multiple Tampa Police officers worked together to rescue an infant from a stolen car, as captured on surveillance and body-worn cameras and shared on the Tampa PD Youtube page.

Officers Steven Zawacki, Martin Pollak, Anthony Hardesty, and Landon Harsin responded to an apartment complex on the 2500 block of Siesta Court where a woman's vehicle was reported stolen. The woman advised officers that she exited her car briefly, leaving her 11-month-old baby inside the vehicle, and returned to find her 2011 Kia Optima had been stolen.

The officers immediately began to circulate the area in search of the car, sharing the vehicle description over their radios to alert more officers to be on the lookout for the stolen Kia. About half an hour later, an officer spotted the victim's vehicle abandoned approximately half a mile away at the intersection of N Jamaica Street and W Wilder Avenue on the other side of a six-foot chain-link fence. Knowing every second mattered, two officers scaled the fence as others immediately responded to the location to assist.

The officers found the baby overheated and lethargic inside the abandoned vehicle, which had been turned off on a hot summer day. Officers quickly took the baby to a patrol car and began placing cool compresses on the baby's head and body to help cool her down. The baby was eventually transported to a local hospital, where she was treated and reunited with her mother and made a full recovery.

Medical personnel advised that, in their estimation, there was a strong likelihood that the child would have faced certain death had the officers not located her when they did and provided immediate first aid.

For their quick actions, the Tampa Police Department is recognizing and awarding the officers with a Life Saving Award.

Other awards being presented at the ceremony include Excellent Duty Awards and Citizen Appreciation Awards, recognizing citizens who worked with law enforcement to arrest criminals and keep their neighborhoods safe.