2020 Officer of the Year
Officer T.J. Donnelly
Tampa International Airport Police Department
Officer T. J. Donnelly was born and raised in New York and moved to Florida in 1988 to begin his career in law enforcement. After retiring from the Clearwater Police Department as a Sergeant, Donnelly returned to law enforcement with the Tampa International Airport Police Department in 2017.
In 2018, Officer Donnelly competed for and earned a position with the Tampa International Airport Police Department K-9 Unit. He was paired with his new K-9 partner Ikar and the two enjoyed immediate success. Officer Donnelly and Ikar are a familiar duo at the Tampa International Airport. They are a proactive team tasked with narcotics interdiction and are assigned to the Special Investigations Unit. In addition to the countless amount of hours focused on narcotics interdictions, this team has been involved in countless community demonstrations, training and community policing outreach. Donnelly has gone to great lengths to forge strong and valuable partnerships with surrounding agencies. Officer Donnelly and K-9 Ikar have been recognized as a valuable and trusted law enforcement asset, and because of this, they are routinely called upon by U.S. Customs, Homeland Security, U. S. Coast Guard and surrounding Tampa Bay Area law enforcement agencies.
To date, Officer Donnelly and K-9 Ikar have deployed over 400 times and have been involved in the seizure of over 430 pounds of illegal drugs, over $600,000 in illicit currency and firearm. Many suspects trafficking in illegal drugs have been arrested because of the team’s efforts.
Officer Donnelly lives in Pinellas County and his family was raised in the Tampa Bay Area. His oldest son is a firefighter with Pasco County Fire Rescue and his youngest son proudly serves as a Sergeant in the United States Army who recently returned from Iraq.
Officer Donnelly has not only proven to be a conscientious and proactive Police Officer, he has also proven his dedication and commitment to his department and profession. His actions are a great credit to himself and to the law enforcement community, in general. It is for these reasons Officer Donnelly is the Tampa International Airport Police Department Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for 2020.