TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Officer Andrew Kondek was sworn in Thursday as an officer for the Tampa International Airport Police Department, eight years after his police officer father was killed in the line of duty.
“It’s kind of like a double-edged sword,” Kondek said. “Happy to be here, but it’s also, memories, stuff like that.”
Kondek added he was thinking about his father.
His dad, Charlie Kondek, was killed in the line of duty as a Tarpon Springs Police Officer on Dec. 21, 2014, while responding to a noise complaint.
“His dad should have been here pinning the badge on,” Tarpon Springs Chief of Police Jeff Young said. “He was here with you, your mom, and he’s looking down on you every day with pride, just like we all are at the Tarpon Springs Police Department. We love you.”
Just three years ago, Kondek was awarded a scholarship from the Tampa Bay Police Chief’s Association to attend the academy. Coincidentally, the chief who gave him the check was the same one who swore him into the force today.
“I presented him that scholarship check for him to go, and I never thought that he would come back and work here,” Tampa International Airport Police Chief Charlie Vazquez said. “I made sure we got him. It was an honor for me to sign off on his packet.”
The Tampa airport’s police force is made up of 82 sworn officers and other support staff, protecting the people who travel through the busy airport each day.
For Kondek, it was a bittersweet day beginning his law enforcement career with the memory of his father on his mind.
“Learning things about my dad and stuff like that, and how he was always trying to be there for everybody, between that and the academy and everything else, I feel like I kind of got a head start on this law enforcement career,” Kondek said.