Sunday, December 4, 2011

2011 Pioneer: Larry Wark

Each year for the past 39 years the Broward County Historical Commission has honored pioneers from the various cities and historical organizations throughout the County. The 2011 Broward County Historical Commission Pioneer Day was held on Saturday, December 3, 2011 at the History Center in downtown Ft. Lauderdale.

The City of Tamarac's 2011 Pioneer honoree is Larry Wark.

2011 City of Tamarac Pioneer Larry Wark pictured with Mayor Pamela Bushnell and his wife Letty and her sister Lita.

Pioneer’s Name:
Lawrence (“Larry”) Bernard Wark

Place of Birth:
Albany, New York

Date of Arrival in Broward County:

Method of Arrival:
Drove down in a 1960 Oldsmobile. Was an Insurance Investigator in Albany, NY; transferred to Florida in 1964.

Name of Spouse:
Leticia “Letty” Wark

Marines: 1952 – 1955 (Served in Korean War)

Reminiscences on life in Broward County/Tamarac:
Larry, a former police officer from Rensselaer, New York had an opportunity to transfer to South Florida in 1964 as an Insurance Investigator.

In 1968 the City of Tamarac hired Elis Devoe, the ex-chief of police from Lighthouse Point, as it’s first Police Chief. Chief Elis’ was responsible for forming the City’s first Police Department of which Larry Wark was hired as the first police patrolman; with badge #1!

After approximately six months on the job, the State determined that Larry had to attend the Florida Police Academy, but unfortunately the City of Tamarac did not have the funds to send him so he had to leave the job. After his tenure with the City of Tamarac, Larry went to work as a uniformed police officer, and then detective, for the City of Lauderdale Lakes. From there he went on to be elected to the City Council of Lauderdale Lakes – during his service as Councilman, Larry served as the Chairman of the Public Safety. At the same time he started his own business as a private investigation and security guard agency.

Larry is now semi-retired, however he continues to serve as a security instructor for Corporate Security Academy in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Larry has resided in the Mainlands Community of Tamarac for the past eight years with his wife of seventeen years, Leticia.

With regards to his time with the City of Tamarac’s Police Department, Larry recalls a couple of specific stories:

“Back in my day with the Tamarac Police Department, most of the City was under construction. The majority of our police functions consisting patrolling the City keeping watch on the shadows of the many partially built homes. We occasionally wrote up traffic violations and on occasion deterred theft of construction materials. I can remember killing 5 ½ foot rattle snake on the dirt road cutting (Commercial Boulevard) in the swampy area of now University Drive.”


“My first arrest as a Tamarac Officer was of a rape suspect who threw his victim from a speeding car. Back then we were on the same radio frequency as the Sheriff’s Office. One late night a BOLO (‘Be On The Lookout’) came over advising a suspect, driving a white Chevy, could be headed West. On patrol, I spotted the vehicle, gave chase and caught the suspect as he pulled into a dead end road. This was really exciting, and a bit nerve wracking, since it was my first arrest since working on the force back in New York!”