2017-08-12 / Top News

Decals Memorialize Ferry Worker

By Sasha Zidar


Chris Shepler, president of Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry, shows one of the decals tourists have seen this summer in the captain’s cabins of his fleet. They are replicas of the Wayne State University Police badge worn by officer Collin Rose, a former Shepler’s employee who was fatally shot while on duty at the campus. Chris Shepler, president of Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry, shows one of the decals tourists have seen this summer in the captain’s cabins of his fleet. They are replicas of the Wayne State University Police badge worn by officer Collin Rose, a former Shepler’s employee who was fatally shot while on duty at the campus. November 22, 2016, Collin Rose, an officer with the Wayne State University Police Department in Detroit, was fatally shot following an attempt to stop and question a bicyclist riding in a near-campus area that had experienced an increase in thefts.

The bicyclist was arrested and charged, but later released, owing to lack of evidence. Mr. Rose died the day after the shooting at 5:45 p.m. at Detroit Receiving Hospital, with his family around him, close friends and co-workers in law enforcement waiting in the hospital lobby. He was the first police officer to die in the line of duty at the university and the fifth police officer shot in the United States within three days.


Collin Rose Collin Rose Mr. Rose, 29, worked several summers for Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry while earning a criminal justice degree at Ferris State University in Big Rapids. Island friends and coworkers remember him for a positive attitude and willingness to put others before himself.

“He did everything for us,” said Shepler’s President Chris Shepler. “Everything you’ve read about him or have heard about him is true. He would do everything. One day, he would be decking the freight boat, the next day he’d be on the lighthouse cruises, the next day he’d be decking a ferryboat. He was one of those guys where he would be the first one to be picked and the last one to leave. He was a hard worker.”

As a memorial, Mr. Shepler arranged for decals, replicas of Mr. Rose’s Wayne State University Police badge, to be placed in the captain’s cabin windshields of all his company’s vessels this summer. The decals came from Lt. Christopher Powell, a Wayne State investigative officer who had hundreds of them made up. Shepler’s employees also raised $500 and donated it to Mr. Rose’s fiancé and family.

“Everyone wanted a decal and wanted to help support and remember Collin,” said Mr. Shepler. “It was kind of a no-brainer to have Collin with us every day.”

Mr. Shepler lost his sister 18 years ago in a tragic car accident. To keep her memory alive, he has kept memorabilia of her around his house. Now, he said, he has something with which to remember Mr. Rose every day.

“This has been met with huge applause by our crew members who remember Collin. It’s good for them, it’s good for us, and it’s good for me personally, and we hope we’ve given back a little bit to his fiancé and his family during this tough time,” said Mr. Shepler. “We were notified and it was just devastating to all of us here. To have someone who spent his young adulthood with you in the growing-up stages and someone who was that high of character and to have him leave so soon … it’s just tragic to all his friends, his co-workers and us.”

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder released a statement while Mr. Rose was in critical condition prior to his death:

“Our police officers need our support and appreciation. This recent wave of violence against those sworn to protect and serve must end. Let’s hope Officer Rose can make a full recovery and let’s never forget the sacrifice he has made in service to his state.”

On December 2 following his death, Gov. Snyder ordered United States and Michigan flags to be lowered to half-staff on all State of Michigan government buildings. Hundreds of people gathered for vigils at Wayne State University, Ferris State University and Comerica Park, Ford Field, and Scripps Park in Detroit.

Mr. Rose had been a Wayne State police officer for five years. He specialized in working with a university police dog, Clyde, the only narcotics-sniffing Rottweiler in the Great Lakes region.

“It’s emotional for me to think of all the things that are going on in this complicated world with complicated individuals that have no idea what the police force does and that their goal is to keep us safe,” said Mr. Shepler. “Some complicated individuals don’t understand that and, unfortunately, Collin met one of those individuals and it just blows me away every day.”

Mr. Shepler estimated he has handed out more than 200 of the special decals on Mackinac Island and in Mackinaw City and St. Ignace.

Chief Anthony Holt of the Wayne State University Police Department promoted Rose to Sergeant and awarded him the Citation of Valor, the highest award issued by the department, following his death.

“I hope he’s looking down on us with a little smile and we are certainly looking up at him with a little smile, because I know he is up there hanging out.” Mr. Shepler said as he gazed at one of the decals in a ferry captain’s cabin.

Murder and weapons charges against the bicyclist, 61-year-old Raymond Durham of Detroit, were announced last Thursday, August 3, by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. Mr. Durham also is accused of a March shooting in which two police officers were injured.

There was a competency hearing for Mr. Durham in the March case on the same day, August 3, that he appeared before 36th District Judge Kenneth King in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice to face charges in the murder of Mr. Rose. Judge King ordered him to be evaluated for competency to stand trial at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry, where he is being housed.

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