ROCKFORD, Mich.- The loss of Trooper Paul Butterfield has devastated communities throughout West Michigan and the entire state, and served as a reminder about the dangers officers face every day.
“Anytime we lose a police officer it’s like losing a member of our family, it hurts deeply,” Sgt. Aaron Sweeney of the Michigan State Police Rockford Post said.
Michigan State Police Troopers’ bond begins in recruit school, where only five percent of those who sign up actually become a trooper.
“We are a family whether we disagree with something or not. We’re all there to back each other up,” Sgt. Sweeney said.
He says when an officer is killed other members of law enforcement remember why they took their oath.
“Putting on the mourning badge is difficult; it’s difficult to wear it,” he said. “It’s our way of showing respect. It’s also a reminder that this is a dangerous job and we need to be vigilant.”
He says burying an officer never gets easier especially when he’s doing the job he and his fellow officers do every day.
“None of us are promised tomorrow and this is a dangerous job and even if we do everything right we can be caught off guard,” he said.
Grief counselors are being made available for the officers and their families in the wake of Trooper Paul Butterfield’s death.