Officer Arnulfo Crispin Remembered for Quiet Leadership

Slain Lakeland Police Officer Arnulfo Crispin
TAMPA (2011-12-27) -

More than 4,000 family, friends and law enforcement officers from across Florida gathered in Lakeland today to honor slain officer Arnuflo Crispin.

The 25-year-old Lakeland officer was shot and killed earlier this month, making him the 13th Florida police officer killed in the line of duty this year.

In English and Spanish they came up one by one to talk about Crispin. They called him quiet, sincere, a ladies man who liked to help people.

Lakeland police Officer Cory Bowling was Crispin’s soccer coach and mentor. He remembers a natural player who was teased a little for his long, black hair.

Bowling says he wasn’t surprised when Crispin asked for a letter of recommendation for the police academy.

“The first thing I told him, he was going to have to cut his hair when he went into the police academy. But I would be honored to write it,” Bowling said, choking up.

Crispin was just 18 months on the Lakeland police force, but Lakeland police Chief Lisa Womack says he was already growing into a quiet leader – well-liked by both police and the community.

She read from his letter asking to become a police officer:

“‘I want to help the city of Lakeland and the civilians that are in need of help, to deter crime.’ I’m proud to say that although his time with us was too short, he lived up to every single word he wrote,” she said.

She then read from the Gospel of John: “Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Crispin is the 13th Florida police officer slain in the line of duty this year. Florida leads the nation in the number of police killed in 2011.

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