By Brad Stager
The first order of business for the February 3 meeting of the Hillsborough County Commission was to recognize the ultimate sacrifice made by Sgt. Brian LaVigne of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), who was killed in the line of duty on January 11 while responding to a disturbance call in Brandon. Brian was fatally injured when the suspect allegedly rammed the deputy’s patrol car with his own vehicle while fleeing the scene.
“This is a very solemn day for us,” said Commissioner Pat Kemp, who chaired the meeting.
“All of our hearts are broken because when we lose one of our first responders, it profoundly affects us all. This board offers its sincerest condolences to his colleagues and family who are here today,” she said.
A memoriam signed by all seven members of the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) was read and entered into the record. It highlights Brian’s devotion to his family, community and colleagues during his 31-year career with HCSO. Besides recognizing Brian’s professional achievements, such as Deputy of the Half in 1992 and the Sheriff’s Office Life Saving Award in 2017, the memoriam spoke of his learning to play the bagpipes and developing martial arts skills.
The statement concludes with thoughts of LaVigne’s wife, Cathleen LaVigne; children, Caitlin and Erin Liam LaVigne; his mother, Carol LaVigne; and siblings, Kevin LaVigne and Pamela Weyh, as well as colleagues and friends.
“This board hopes they take solace in the many cherished memories and positive impacts Sgt. Brian LaVigne made during his lifetime.”
Cathleen expressed appreciation to the commissioners for honoring her late husband and to those in law enforcement who continue serving Hillsborough County residents.
“Thank you to Sheriff Chad Chronister and his team for their support,” she said. “And to the men and women who put on the belt and vest and head out the door, we thank you.”
A special plaque honoring Brian will be presented to his family, who attended the ceremony online. It reads in part, “Hillsborough County honors the memory of Sgt. Brian Roy LaVigne for his tireless dedication to the safety and well-being of others and giving his life for the good of his community as a member of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.”
Brian was honored as part of the county commission’s Fallen Heroes Program, which allows for official ceremonial recognition by the BOCC of the sacrifice made by first responders who died while performing their duties.