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Tampa Police Reach Out to Military, Veterans

Sara Bartoe | Tampa Police | Military Affairs Liaison

The Tampa Police Department has appointed a military affairs liaison who will serve as a resource for police employees and community members who have served, or are currently serving, in the armed forces

TAMPA – The Tampa Police Department has assigned a new liaison to help bridge the relationship between law enforcement and the military community.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and police Chief Brian Dugan introduced the department’s military affairs liaison, Detective Sue Libertz, during a press conference Tuesday (May 22) at police headquarters. In addition to her duties as a detective, she will also function as a resource for police employees and community members who have served, or are currently serving, in the armed forces.

An estimated 22,000 veterans live in Tampa, which is the only city in the nation with two major military command posts – U.S. Central Command and the U.S. Special Operations Command Center.

“Make no mistake, Tampa is a military town,” Buckhorn said. “I believe that this aggressive initiative will make a difference in the lives of those veterans we come across, and I know by extension it will make a difference in our community as a whole.”

When police employees return after deployment, the military affairs liaison will help reintegrate them back to their law enforcement duties. Dugan said he views the liaison position as an investment in the health and welfare of his department, which employs 265 active or retired military personnel.

“We have to work with them when they’re deployed to make sure their families are taken care of, and when they return we have to ensure our agency has the necessary resources they need to help them get re-acclimated to their home life and their work life,” Dugan said.

Through community partnerships, the military affairs liaison will have the ability to direct service members to a wealth of resources that are available to them in Tampa. The Hillsborough County 13th Circuit Court; Crisis Center of Tampa Bay; MacDill Air Force Base; Hillsborough County Medical Examiners Department; the Life Center of the Suncoast; Quarles & Brady LLP; and Bay Area Legal Services, Incorporated will work closely with the military affairs liaison to help ensure the police department’s outreach to the military community thrives.

In addition to the new liaison, Tampa police employees are now authorized to wear uniform pins that reflect their branch of military service. The pins further demonstrate the police department’s commitment to strengthening relationships and honoring those who serve the country.

“Not every veteran out there has PTSD or is ‘broken.’ Sometimes they just need someone to talk to who understands their military experience, or assistance with transitioning to civilian life so they can continue to be heroes at home,” Dugan said.

Photo shows Tampa police Officer Sara Bartoe who served eight years in the U.S. Navy. She is one of the 265 employees at the Tampa Police Department who are now authorized to wear a pin on their uniform that reflects their branch of military service. Courtesy of the Tampa Police Department.

Tampa Police | Military | Brian Dugan | Bob Buckhorn | Tampabay News

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Tampa Police Reach Out to Military, Veterans
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Tampa Police Reach Out to Military, Veterans
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The Tampa Police Department has appointed a military affairs liaison who will serve as a resource for police employees and community members who have served, or are currently serving, in the armed forces
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TB Reporter
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