MT. MORRIS, Mich. (WJRT) — Families and law enforcement officers paid their respects to fallen comrades at Flint Memorial Park Cemetery Friday morning.
The ceremony, held for Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, was of particular significance to the Flint Police Department.
It was an opportunity to pay tribute to the late Captain Collin Birnie, who was killed in a head-on collision in February.
“During my second stint in the Major Crimes Unit, Captain Birnie and I would often arrive at the same time every morning. And every morning that I saw him in the parking lot, he would greet me with a big smile and a sincere “hello, bro,” State Police Lt. Thomas Dhooghe said.
Captain Collin Birnie was on the tongues of many speakers at Friday’s ceremony as the latest Genesee officer to die in the line of duty.
Deputy Chief Jeff Antfcliff praised Birnie’s good humor and wealth of knowledge, as well as the sense of brotherhood he fostered within the department.
“I got a phone call from one of our other friends, Brian Warden, who was also a Marine with Collin. And Brian asked me what I was doing and I said I was sitting in the office from his fellow sailor. And Collin heard that and made that big belly laugh,” Antcliff said.
Many speakers said his death was a reminder that officers risk their lives every day. But Birnie wasn’t the only officer mentioned by name.
Sheriff Chris Swanson said he was proud of the cooperation that helped give the late Deputy James Cranston the recognition he deserved.
“We validated the facts. We submitted the information. And thanks to our friends here at the Fraternal Order of Police, we were able to reveal his name at the Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC”
Deputy Cranston died in the line of duty in 1945, but was never listed. Starting today, Cranston’s name also sits proudly on the Flint Memorial Park plaque.
The dedication of these officers to sharing their friends’ memories shows that they may be gone, but not forgotten.
“Today, on this perfect day – at our very own Genesee County Police Officers Memorial – and every day – wherever we are – we will remember them all,” former judge Larry Stecco said.
National Police Week begins every May 15 and was created by President John F. Kennedy in 1962.