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Fallen Heroes Details

In Memory Of
Larry Rhoden
Polk County Sheriff, FL
End of watch: 2001-10-22
Aircraft: Bell OH-58A
TFO Larry Rhoden, 33 and Pilot, Brian Wilkinson, 33 were killed when their helicopter crashed in a marsh just north of Bartow, Florida.

The flight team, who had been providing aerial support to Lakeland deputies during a burglary arrest, was headed back to Bartow. Their last communication with the dispatcher was at 12:58 AM. At 1:06 AM a deputy requested by radio that the helicopter go to an area south of Bartow near a power plant. Investigators believe the helicopter was either headed there or to the agencys hangar at the Bartow Airbase. Five minutes later, dispatchers tried to contact the helicopter to assist Winter Haven Police Department. Attempts to raise the crew were futile. After repeated attempts to contact the crew by radio and pager were unsuccessful an aerial search was begun. Chief Pilot Greg Love and Flight Officer Rob Gray located the helicopter in a pit near Lake Hancock.

Larry Rhoden, a ten-year veteran of the agency, left behind a wife and three children.

Thoughts and Memories of Larry Rhoden

I think he was a great man. He did lots of things for his people and cared. I know his family personally and I know they miss him dearly. His family is great and his kids look like him. I know I miss him even though I never met him. I know he was a great guy though. We WILL miss him.

Jenn (Penny)
Jennifer Marston