Tampa police honor officer who died in scuba accident

A service in Tampa honored a longtime member of the force.

Tampa, FL -- On Tuesday, Tampa PD laid to rest one of its finest.

In his 27 years with Tampa Police Department, Officer Fred Arnold was a friend, mentor and hero. 

“I mean, it was through his actions that he actually displayed true character. I mean you can say anything you want to, but action speaks louder than words,” said Curtis Smith, a friend and fellow cadet in the 1980s.

In 1992, just Arnold’s actions spoke volumes.

Off duty at the time, he entered a burning house, saving an infant's life.

Armando Roche was right there with Arnold that day, and along with another man helped push Arnold through an open window to save the child.

“You know, there was no telling what was in there through that smoke. Whether there was flames or what. I have the deepest respect for him,” said Roche.

Arnold died in a scuba diving accident while on vacation recently in Nevada, but his legacy - his play it cool street skills - live on in the cadets he trained with and helped train.

Many of them are now seasoned officers serving our community, like Joseph Harrison, who laughed a bit recalling how Arnold would put people at ease.

“Sipping a coffee. I'm trying to sip coffee like him now,” laughed Harrison, “Because it was just so cool the way he would do it.”

“People know Fred Arnold. He was just that good of a guy,” said Fred Wells, another cadet classmate from the 1980s.

A good guy, not just to those he knew – but those he’d never met.

“It showed the content of his character. And now a days, with what's happening with police all over the country stories like this need to be told,” said Roche.

Arnold is survived by his longtime companion, their two daughters and a son - along with countless others whose lives he impacted.

More on Fred Arnold:

Officer dies in scuba diving accident

Family recalls officer who save them from fire


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