At 11:00 am, on Thursday, May 31, 2007, at the First Baptist Church of Eagle Lake, 2500 Highway 17, South, Eagle Lake, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, family, and friends will bid a final good bye to retired Lieutenant Donald Lamarr Corbitt. Corbitt lost his battle to cancer and died at his home on Saturday, May 26, 2007.
Don Corbitt was born to humble beginnings, in Eloise Florida, where he attended Snively Elementary School and later graduated from Winter Haven High School in 1965.
Before serving the people of Polk County as a deputy sheriff, he enlisted in the U S Army and served his country, with a tour in Vietnam from 1967 - 1971. He met Carol, his wife of 38 years, while stationed in Georgia. His daughter Hollie was born in 1973.
Don returned to Polk County after serving in the Army for approximately four years. He found his first calling in country music, recording several songs and, as he called it, “picking” with the likes of Jim Stafford, musician and comedian, and another Eloise son. And though neither he nor his songs made it to the Grand Ole Opry, his singing career made for great storytelling, a trait at which he excelled.
Don once worked as a finance manager at GMAC Finance Co., Fort Myers, but decided on a law enforcement career and became a member of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in 1975.
Don held several positions while at the PCSO including that of detention deputy, patrol deputy, and patrol sergeant. He served as a PCSO lieutenant in patrol and investigations, community services and school resource.
Don developed an educational presentation regarding work place violence and taught the necessity of proper hiring and firing practices to reduce the potential of a violent response from a disgruntled employee. Don enlisted the help of PCSO crime prevention members to teach Crime Prevention through Environmental Design, or CPTED, in conjunction with the reducing work place violence presentation.
Don also developed a power point presentation that chronicled a number of well known school shootings and quickly set about to educate others in the agency, the schools and the community on the necessity to prepare for any potential dangers that law enforcement and school administrators might face.
Don was instrumental in developing and implementing the first PCSO deputy-training program for an “in-progress shooting.” As the program was being developed, Polk County, along with the rest of the nation, learned of the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999.
But it was the Jonesboro shooting on March 24, 1998, that had PCSO School Resource Lieutenant Don Corbitt convinced that if it could happen in a community like Jonesboro Arkansas, it could potentially happen in Polk County and PCSO School Resource Officers needed to be trained oh how to respond to such a scenario. Don was an instructor for the course which is mandatory for all deputies.
In addition to Don’s many responsibilities and progressive presentations, he was the PCSO representative for the Sheriff’s Youth Villa Golf Classic for many years. As the agency liaison, Don would help to coordinate and participate in the annual golfing fundraiser that brought local golfers together for the event with proceeds going to the Youth Villa year after year.
Sheriff Grady Judd was saddened to learn of Don’s death. “He was a super guy. Don could educate you and make you laugh,” said Sheriff Judd. “Carol and Hollie are in my thoughts and prayers. Don was one in a million.”
Don was ever the practical jokester and over the years exchanged “used” Christmas cards with a number of his PCSO friends. He considered himself one of the finest “bar-b-que” chefs in the world and loved his cat, “Frack.” He was larger than life, full of humor, and had a huge zeal for life. Donald Lamarr Corbitt will be greatly missed.
Visitation will be held from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Wednesday, May 30, 2007, at Glen Abbey Memorial Gardens, 2200 K-Ville Avenue, Auburndale.