First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg seats 2,850 people, but the crowds expected for Friday’s funeral of two slain officers are expected to be so large that two video screens will be set up in the parking lot for viewing.
Tonight there is a public viewing at the church from 6-8 p.m. Police officers will be on vigil at the church all night.
Friday’s funeral for both Sgt. Thomas Baitinger and K-9 Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz will start at 11 a.m. and is expected to last for three hours. There will be several ceremonial events, including the folding of the flag, taps, a 21-gun salute, a fly over and the end-of-watch announcement.
Police say that family, law enforcement officials and government leaders may fill most of the church pews inside, with the public viewing outdoors. Details on shuttles to and from the church parking lot will be announced later today.
After the funeral service ends, hearses carrying the bodies of the fallen officers will be escorted with their families from the church parking lot in a processional that will travel to Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park Cemetery, at 2860 Sunset Point Road, Clearwater.
This will begin at about 3 p.m., but there are a number of variables that could alter that time, police said.
Due to the number of law enforcement vehicles involved, the processional will
likely be several miles in length. Law enforcement officers will be stationed at key intersections to assist and allow the procession to pass smoothly to its destination. The public should be alerted to the route as it will likely result in traffic delays.
The processional route will be as follows:
- Departs church and heads East on 94th Avenue North.
- Turns North on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Street North.
- Turns West on Roosevelt Boulevard (S.R. 686).
- Continues West and merge with Ulmerton Road (S.R. 688).
- Turns West on Ulmerton Road (S.R. 688)/Roosevelt Boulevard (S.R. 686).
- Turns North on Roosevelt Boulevard (S.R. 686).
- Turn North on County Road 611/Bayside Bridge.
- Continues North on North McMullen Booth Road (C.R. 611).
- Turns West on Sunset Point Road.
- Ends at 2860 Sunset Point Road (Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park Cemetery).
A brief graveside service will take place inside the memorial park with both caskets present; however only Officer Yaslowitz will be interred at the cemetery. The public is not invited to attend this service.
After the service, Sgt. Baitinger’s body will be escorted from the cemetery by a small contingent of law enforcement officers for a return to a local funeral home to await private family arrangements. This will not be a funeral procession.
Members of the public who would like to make a donation are being encouraged to do so through theSun Coast Law Enforcement Charities, a nonproft.
Here is the information:
Sun Coast Law Enforcement Charities, Inc.
14141 46th Street North, Suite 1205
Clearwater, Florida 33762