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Temple Terrace cop's sons pin on his promotional badges

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A veteran Temple Terrace policeman has been promoted to the rank of sergeant and had his sons, who follow in their family's footsteps and aspire to be public safety professionals, pin newly-minted sergeant's badges on Police Corporal John Spala.

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A 20-plus-years member of the Temple Terrace Police Department (TTPD) in Temple Terrace, Fla., John Spala came up through the ranks, commencing his police aspirations as a Temple Terrace police explorer. For five years as a police explorer, Spala honed the rudimentary and conventional skills expected of a police officer.

Thereafter, Spala officially joined the Temple Terrace police force in 1989, assuming the title of police community service officer (CSO). As a CSO, Spala investigated traffic crashes, enforced parking violations, and performed whatever duty was deemed suited for a uniformed, civilian police member, without powers of arrest.

With the aforementioned impetus under his belt and cumulative years of experience, Spala attended the police academy and reached his pinnacle: Swearing in as a police officer in 1994.

With his newly-attested police officers' oath to fulfill, Spala worked feverishly, especially in the realm of traffic enforcement throughout 1999-2000. Immersed in the various facets expected of a well-rounded street cop, Spala's seemingly endless energy catapulted him into areas both on- and off-duty. Spala was omnipresent at department functions, community events, at police in-service facilitations, filling any need which arose.

Spala volunteered to maintain the police department's vehicle fleet, even though that task was assigned to the agency's CSO contingency. Whenever a need arose whereby a shortage of personnel existed, Spala fervently filled the shoes well. It is part of his personal and professional constitution.

Spala was a long-term regular attendee at the monthly Hillsborough County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST), a consortium of Tampa Bay area law enforcement officers, state traffic engineers, school safety advocates, politicians, state attorney's office prosecutors, bicycle safety agents, and anyone with any manner of interests in traffic safety.

In due time, Spala worked both day and night shifts among a squad of other police officers. An earlier promotion was elevation to Senior Police Officer, perhaps the first glint of supervisory-role aspirations for Spala.

With ample years of myriad experiences achieved, Spala applied for and was accepted in 2004 into the department's Criminal Investigations Unit as a police detective. Spala excelled in investigating white collar crimes (economics crimes).

In November 2007, Spala competed for and obtained the rank of police corporal, supplementing a sergeant supervising a squad of cops.

The next rung in the police ladder of achievements transpired on Thursday, December 5, 2013. Corporal John Spala experienced the dignity of having his son, Daniel Spala, 17, pin on his newest badge, a gold shield symbolizing the role of police sergeant. Sergeant Spala's other son, Gregory Spala, 12, also participated in the promotional ceremony. Gregory got to pin on his dad's police sergeant's gold hat badge.

For Sergeant Spala, the moment will be cherished forever. As his son, Daniel, donned in a Zephyrhills Police Department (ZPD) police explorers uniform adorned with a dizzying and impressive array of performance medals and ribbons, pinned on his dad's gold shield sergeant's badge, the exuberance of pride and glee was beyond palpable.

Sergeant Spala received the pinning of his newest badges at the hands of his sons Daniel and Gregory, etching a historical moment in the prodigious Spala public safety family lineage.

And how does Sergeant John Spala envision his new role? He sees it as now having the imperative responsibility of "being able to share training and experience with younger officers, and to prepare them to take on leadership roles to further their careers to someday take my place!"

With 20-plus years working the streets and a cornucopia of law enforcement experience, Sergeant Spala is ideally suited.

Indelibly will remain the nobility and fine character traits of Sergeant John Spala, mirrored by his son, Daniel, an aspiring police officer following his dad's sojourn, and his youngest son, Gregory, who is focused on a career wearing a badge as a firefighter, just like his mom.

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