MASS HEROES – HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPUTY JOHN KOTFILA, JR.

 

Mass Heroes - John Kotfila

Our lives are changing and becoming ever more interconnected through the now ever-present camera.  Yet the basic fundamentals and needs of our everyday lives are unchanged.  While safety and protection will never cease to top the list of our necessities, there are those who wish to sensationalize any individual incident involving an officer into an indictment of all those who surround us in every minute of our lives ready to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to save someone else.  Blue lives do matter if you value your own.

At Ballin & Associates it is our privilege to work day in and day out to represent the rights of those who protect and serve.  We wish now to highlight the heroic acts common to their profession, but all too often glossed over or ignored by the press.

On March 12, 2016, after a long night of drinking heavily, Erik McBeth gets into his car and onto the LeeRoy Selmon Expressway in Tampa, Florida.  Erik McBeth is driving on the wrong side of the road.  While most of Tampa’s residents are sound asleep at home, Hillsboro County Deputy John Kotfila patrols the Selmon Expressway.  Deputy Kotfila sees an SUV barreling towards a car directly in front of his cruiser.  There are no guidelines for this situation.  There is no training.  There is only the character of the person behind the badge.

Sarah Geren is driving the car in front of Deputy Kotfila.  Her boyfriend is in the front passenger seat.  She desperately flashes her lights at the SUV.  Then, at the last moment a cruiser speeds in front of her.  The cruiser swerves into the deadly path of the SUV, crashes into it, knocks it aside, and saves Sarah Geren’s life.  Deputy Kotfila, a third generation police officer and a Falmouth, Massachusetts native, will forever be remembered for this incredible, selfless act.

What causes a person, born like any of the rest of us, to grow up and one day act at a moment’s notice to take the place of a stranger knowing it means certain death?  Please take a moment to reflect on what it means to wear a badge.  We are grateful for all those who do.

*This article is the first installment in our Mass Heroes series.  Nominations for Mass Heroes can be submitted via email by clicking here.

Zachary M. Ballin, Esq.