TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – The Tampa Bay law enforcement community is mourning the loss of one of their own. Tampa Police Officer Matthew Coleman died after losing his battle with COVID-19.
“It’s really rough,” said Danny Alvarez, the spokesperson for the Tampa Police Benevolent Association.
Officer Coleman is at least the fifth Tampa Bay area law enforcement office to die from COVID just within the last month. Before working with TPD, Officer Coleman worked at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
“He was a stellar example of what a law enforcement officer should be,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, an organization that keeps up with fallen officers, COVID-19 is the number one killer of law enforcement in 2020 and 2021. In Florida, at least 37 law enforcement officers have died from COVID since the pandemic started and that number continues to rise.
“It just shows you, if you want to see if our folks are in harm’s way, it’s not just bullets it’s an unseen killer and it, unfortunately, took the life of one of our own,” added Alvarez. “When you say it’s 37 that’s a lot of time, experience and families that have been devastated just because of something that is this severe.”
Officer Coleman leaves behind a wife and children. Anyone wishing to donate to the Coleman family can do so through the Tampa Police Benevolent Association.