Press Release

Subject: Distinguished Service Award- Dep. Tara Burge
Incident Type:
Incident Date/Time 6/27/2019 6:00:00 AM
Expire Date/Time 7/26/2019 6:00:00 AM
Case Number:
Related Link:
Person/Suspect Info

On May 1, Deputy Tara Burge was off-duty and driving up the southbound lane of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. She noticed a vehicle parked in the outside lane of travel and could tell it was unoccupied. Feeling this was suspicious; she slowed down and looked for pedestrians.

She saw a man walking to the top of the bridge so she pulled up next to him and tried to begin a dialogue, however the male would not speak with her and continued to walk. Disregarding her own safety, she instructed a passenger in her vehicle to call 911 and inform them of the situation as she exited her vehicle. Dep. Burge approached the man and began speaking with him.

She could see he was holding a cellphone as he approached the side of the bridge. She pleaded with the male not to jump, but he remained certain he was going to end his life. In a final effort to prevent him from jumping, she asked to have his cell phone, stating that if he was adamant to jump, she would at least like to tell his family what happened. He obliged and began to hand her his cell phone. When he did so, she grabbed him and pulled him away from the ledge, where she was able to hold him until Florida Highway Patrol arrived.

Even though she was off-duty, she showed extraordinary bravery and put herself at great personal risk to save the life of the man who was clearly in distress. For her extraordinary efforts, Deputy Tara Burge is awarded the agency’s Distinguished Service Award.