Muskegon County Law Enforcement pays tribute to fallen officers


By Diana L. Coleman
Legal News

The 2016 Police Officers Memorial Service was held May 18 in front of the newly relocated “The Protectors” statue dedicated to the officers killed in the line of duty.
City of Muskegon Public Safety Director Jeffrey Lewis opened the program bringing a strong message that “Police lives matter.” Lewis hopes that  with increased efforts and coordination of all local law enforcement agencies and the Michigan State Police, the violence will decline and there will never be a need to add a new name to the police memorial.
Retired Muskegon County Sheriff Department Detective Brian Harris served as host for the 2016 memorial. Harris is also currently serving as Vice President of the Charles D. Hammond Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 99, named after City of Muskegon Police officer Charles D. Hammond who was
killed in the line of duty in 1925. 

Amy Gerrard, once again, put together an amazing program.  She always makes sure the families of the fallen officers are seated front and center and that all the law enforcement agencies are present. Each municipality brings its patrol cars, the Mus-kegon County Sheriff De-partment Water patrol brings their boats, and the mounted patrol is often present for the citizens to view how many different ways they are served. This year the Edgewood Brownie Troop No. 4532 assisted by handing out programs and blue lapel ribbons to all who attended.

The Muskegon County Police Officers Honor Guard presented the American Flag and all recited the Pledge of Allegiance. This year’s guest speaker was Mrs. Lin Emmert, the mother of slain City of Grand Haven police officer Scott Flahive. Flahive was killed by an escaped Ottawa County jail prisoner when Flahive pulled him over for a traffic stop.  Flahive was 24 years of age. When Mrs. Emmert visited the National Police Memorial, her son Scott’s name was the last one that had been added. Since that time, many more have unfortunately been added to the wall. There are over 20,000 names on the National
Memorial and every 61 hours another officer is lost in the line of duty.

The poem dedicated to the fallen officers and the list of officers who lost their lives in the line of duty flank “The Protectors” statue.  They read as follows:

I never dreamed it would be me
My name for all of eternity
Recorded here at this hallowed place
Alas, my name, no more my face
“In the line of duty” I hear them say
My family now the price to pay
My folded flag stained with tears
We only had those few short years
The Badge no longer on my chest
I sleep now in eternal rest
My sword I pass to those behind
And pray they keep this thought in mind
I never dreamed it would be me
And with a heavy heart and bent knee
I ask for all here and past...
Dear God, let me name be the last.
Fallen Officers
Josiah C. Hazeltine, Mus-kegon County Deputy, 1908
Julius A. Salomonson, Muskegon County DNR, 1908
Martin Salomonson, Muske-gon County DNR, 1908
Charles D. Hammond, City of Muskegon Police, 1925
William F. Delmar, Roosevelt Park Police, 1966
Charles B. Stark, Michigan State Police, 1971
Johnnie O. Harris, City of Muskegon Heights Police, 1975
Craig A. Scott, Michigan State Police, 1982
Marion J. Calkins, Muskegon County Sheriff, 1982
Scott Flahive, City of Grand Haven Police, 1994
Ernest W. Heikkila, Muske-gon County Sheriff Depart-ment, 1995
Tribute was paid by the Michigan Conservation officers serving in Muskegon County to the memory of Julius A. Salo-monson and his brother and fellow Conservation Officer Mar-tin Salomonson, who, together with Muskegon County Deputy Josiah C. Hazeltine, died while trying to arrest game poachers in 1908. Conservation officer Greg Patton also dedicated the new DNR patrol boat. The boat is named the Julius A. Salomonson in honor of the fallen officer.

The Muskegon County police memorial “The Protec-tors” statue and plaques with the deceased officers’ names has been moved to its new location in front of the new jail. Retired Muskegon County Sheriff Robert Carter presided over the re-dedication of the new location. Unfortunately, several new plaques that were to be included in the re-dedication had not arrived at the time of the program. From Carter’s speech:

“The Law Enforcement Memorial was original dedicated in the late fall of 1999 after much discussion by the Frater-nal Order of Police Lodge 99 and the County of Muskegon. Because of the idea of it being erected adjacent to the Hall of Justice, it was necessary to gain the partnership with the County and the County was instrumental in making the dream come true. The negotiations with the County produced an agreement that would be beneficial for the County and the Fraternal Order of Police. The Memorial would cost the FOP approximately $80,000 and be built in conjunction with a court ordered jail project that would allow the County to save dollars. With the agreement, the FOP would pay an interest free loan of at least $3500 a year until the cost was paid off. In 2014 the FOP paid off the debt in its entirety.  In 2012, the Memorial added the names of three additional law enforcement members who lost their lives in the line of duty, marking the total of eleven lost officers on the wall.

“When the new jail project began several members of the FOP, led by Undersheriff Orville Smith, began a conversation with several members of the Muskegon County Board of Commissions seeking dialogue about moving the memorial to an area adjacent to the new entrance of the Hall of Justice and the new jail.
The plan became a reality.  The efforts of Commissioners Ken Mahoney and Terry Sabo, Sheriff Dean Roesler and County Administrator Mark Eisenbarth were paramount to the successful outcome. Gran-ger Construction agreed to facilitate the construction base for the memorial and architect Terry Blanchard helped with the new design. Brodin Studios placed the completely refinished statue in its new resting place. Superior Monument provided new plaques for
the wall and installed them. The FOP Logo and the Protector will be placed on the new wall.

“When I look back at this entire endeavor, I am reminded of the true dedication and persistence of Orville Smith and why this day is actually a reality. Orville and a dear friend drove to Brodin Studios in Minnesota and transported the original statue back to Mus-kegon on his own time and money. He was the main contact in this venture until his untimely death in June of 2015.”

Retired officer and host Harris gave special thanks to Gerrard for her hard work and dedication to making this annual tribute so special. Harris called her “The FOP Queen, our Angel on Earth, and the Protector of the Protectors.”

To complete and close the program, Taps was played by Philip Marshall of the Michigan State Police.  Pastor Tim Cross of the Living Word Church in the City of Muskegon gave the benediction, and the Muskegon Regional Police Pipes and Drums played Amazing Grace.