2015 Officer of the Year

Detective Steven McDonald

Tampa International Airport Police Department

TIA Police – Officer of the Year

Detective Steven McDonald

Detective Steven McDonald retired from Tampa Police Department after 29 years of service, but remained active as a part time reserve officer. In 2011 he joined TIAPD as a patrol officer and is currently assigned to the Criminal Investigations Unit as a detective and active PBA Representative.

In January 2014, a young autistic male was scheduled to travel with his parents back home to Cincinnati. As the flight began to board, both parents noticed their son was not in the gate area and were concerned that he left the airside.

Due to the fact that the young man was autistic, he was entered into the computer system as missing and endangered. Information and photographs were disbursed to area law enforcement agencies and airport tenants. When a search of the airport yielded negative results, the investigation began to expand further off the airport.

Detective McDonald utilized a spiral search method and shortly thereafter located the autistic male off airport properTampa Police Department. The young male observed Detective McDonald’s patrol vehicle and began running before McDonald was able to safely corral him. Using his many years of experience, McDonald quickly gained the cooperation and trust of the individual. The young man volunteered to ride back to the airport with Officer McDonald where he was safely reunited with his relieved father.

Detective Steven McDonald has been married to Gayle for 29 years. They have two sons, Steven and Jeremy, along with two grandchildren, Katlyn and Mathew.