BRADENTON -- Some still remember the former leader for instilling a sense of family at the Bradenton Police Department.
Former Bradenton Police Chief Vito "Vic" Badalamenti died Thursday in Bradenton. He was 83.
Mr. Badalamenti retired from the Bradenton Police Department in February 1995 after a 15-year tenure that included 10 years as chief. Some of the men and women hired by Mr. Badalamenti still remain in the department, having worked their way up the ranks.
"He was a good leader, set a good example for the supervisors and commanders," Capt. William Fowler said. "He was a really good guy to work for."
Fowler recalled being sworn in by Mr. Badalamenti, and was impressed how the chief managed to learn every officer's spouse and children's names.
"He was a good family man and promoted a good sense of family first," Fowler said.
Laura Badalamenti said
she spent many good times with her husband and partner of 37 years.
"He was very honest and hard working and a really wonderful husband," she said
The most memorable time together was a three-month trip the couple took to Alaska, she said.
David Moore said he remembers his stepfather talking about that trip many times.
"For Vic, it was one of highlights of his life," Moore said. "He really, really enjoyed that trip."
Since retiring, Mr. Badalamenti also enjoyed spending time fishing and lobstering in the Florida Keys, his family said.
Prior to his time at the Bradenton Police Department, Mr. Badalamenti was a New York state trooper for 21 years. Badalamenti was also a U.S. Air Force veteran honorably discharged in 1954.
Detective Sgt. Valerie Shoates remembered being hired by Badalamenti.
"The short time I worked with him was a good experience," Shoates said. "He made you feel part of the Bradenton police family."
Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski never met Mr. Badalamenti but was saddened at the news of his death, he said.
"From what I understand he was very well respected in the department," Radzilowski said.
Radzilowski said he's heard nothing but great things about the former chief, including how he served with distinction and integrity.
Mr. Badalamenti's health began to decline a year ago, his wife said, after having a bad fall and breaking his hip.
"He was never quite the same," she said.
After suffering from other medical conditions, including heart failure, Mr. Badalamenti spent four days in hospice before dying.
His wife was grateful he died in his sleep.
Badalamenti is survived by his wife Laura Badalamenti, 78; brother, Dominic Badalamenti of New York; children, Michael Badalamenti, 45, and Lisa Taaca, 42, both of Crested Butte, Colo.; stepchildren Michael Moore, 60, David Moore, 59, Susan Tresca, 58, Jennifer Myers, 49, and Jimmy Moore 52; 10 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
Their is no funeral scheduled but a private memorial for family will be held later. In lieu of flowers the family asks donations be made to Tidewell Hospice and Palliative Care in Bradenton.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.