The Tampa Police Department is grieving the loss of a colleague and highly respected police officer, Corporal Mike Roberts, an 11-year veteran on the force. Killed in the line of duty recently by a man pushing a shopping cart and armed with guns, the scuffle that ensued between the defendant and Corporal Roberts resulted in Roberts being pistol-whipped and ultimately shot and killed. He had just been promoted to the rank of detective and would have been headed to the Hit and Run Squad. A true public servant, Corporal Roberts had previously served in the military and served his country honorably.
Leaving behind a wife and 3-year-old child, this senseless victimization of a police officer and loss of life of a law enforcement officer touches not only those in the city of Tampa but everyone nationwide and, particularly, those in the criminal justice system. It brings home, once again, the fact that even armed, highly-trained, and experienced police officers are not immune from the inherent dangers they face in the communities they patrol and the total lack of respect for authority and disregard of the significance of the badge. For those on drugs, mentally disturbed, or those who just plain don’t care if they kill a cop or anyone else, the resulting consequences for police officers can be devastating and deadly.
Searching for answers amidst their grief, the law enforcement community valiantly continues to carry out their duties without bias, retribution, or retaliation. They do not transpose their anger onto others nor do they minimize their professional response to what they continue to confront on a daily basis. All the while, they feel the pain, sadness, and loss of their colleague and the impact on his family.
It is important the Tampa Police Department and the family of Corporal Mike Roberts know they have the thoughts, prayers, and sympathy of those around the country. All of us, regardless of whether or not we were personally or professionally acquainted with Corporal Roberts, grieve his loss as a colleague in the criminal justice system.
His death reminds us to keep important things in perspective and prioritize the significant people in our lives. Perhaps it is time to make a phone call, share a smile, or extend a hug. And, as we do that, let us extend a heartfelt wish for his family to cherish fond memories to help them through the difficult days ahead. Corporal Roberts rest in peace.