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Scholarships named in honor of officers

Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 26, 1998

Long after the pain of having four Tampa Bay law enforcement officers killed this spring subsides, Arthur F. Kirk Jr. wants their names and their memories to live on.

To make sure that happens, Kirk, president of Saint Leo College, has helped establish scholarships at the liberal arts school in their names. Saint Leo College is in Pasco County near Dade City. The scholarships, worth up to $5,000 per year, will be available to all sworn law enforcement officers enrolled in the criminal justice program at Saint Leo. The money will cover the cost of tuition for a year.

"It is such a rapidly changing world," Kirk said Monday. "It's all too easy to forget. We wanted to do something that makes sure they will be remembered.

The deaths of the officers hit home for Saint Leo on Tuesday, when Tampa police Detective Randy Bell, a 1991 Saint Leo graduate, was killed with his partner, Detective Rick Childers, and Florida Highway Patrol Trooper James Crooks as Hank Earl Carr went on a rampage. In March, Haines City police Officer Christopher Horner was found shot to death with his own handgun.

Horner's death remains unsolved. Crooks was buried Friday, and the Tampa detectives were buried Saturday in an emotional ceremony at the Tampa Convention Center.

Tampa police Chief Bennie Holder, himself a Saint Leo graduate, said the scholarship is a good idea.

"Law enforcement and higher education is at an all-time pinnacle as we enter the next millennium of serving our community," Holder said in a written statement. "There is no better way (for Saint Leo College) to pay tribute to fallen officers than to establish a Police Memorial Scholarship Fund to better prepare our society's protectors."

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