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Remembering Corporal Collier: 50 years later, TPD honors officer who died of heart attack

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Friday marks 50 years since Tampa Police Officer John R. Collier died in the line of duty after suffering two heart attacks, the second being fatal.

Mayor Jane Castor, Chief Brian Dugan, the Collier family, and Tampa Police Department honored the fallen officer with a memorial remembrance ceremony Friday morning.

TPD said Corporal John Collier was assigned to the college squad of TPD, which meant officers in his squad worked toward their college degrees during the day and patrolled the streets of Tampa during the evening.

On Dec. 4, 1970, Collier responded to St. Joseph’s Hospital on a call. After the call, someone told Collier that he didn’t look well and should sit down. He then suffered his first heart attack. He was admitted to the hospital. A day later, Corporal Collier had a second heart attack, which was fatal.

Collier had been with the department for eight years.

He was later added to the Tampa Police Memorial in 1997 when his death was classified as a line of duty fatality.

Tampa police said Collier is one of many officers who paved the way for police officers to get proper medical care under the Florida Heart and Lung Bill. The presumption is that first responders develop cardiovascular disease as a direct consequence for performing their official duties.


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