Archived Story

Ask Trooper Rob: Reflections rest on fallen troopers

Published 10:27pm Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On behalf of the Michigan State Police, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and hope you are having a safe beginning to the New Year. The New Year brings a time of reflection of the previous year; of new friendships and family, along with lost family and friends.

Throughout this next year, I will continue answering your questions and have safety tips but also will be reflecting on the past.

Each week, I will highlight a fallen trooper. It’s sad that I have enough names to almost fill the year. Since the inception of the Michigan State Police in April 1917, 50 troopers have been lostwhile performing their sworn duties (three were off duty responding to emergencies). The MSP has lost three troopers while they were on military duty and one canine. We have one canine that is also missing in action at this time.

Hostile gunfire killed 20 troopers, three of whom relinquished their off-duty status to respond to crimes in progress. Two were accidently shot by other police officers. Nineteen died from patrol car or motorcycle crashes, five of which involved streetcars or trains. Five were killed by other cars as they exited their patrol cars or as they stood on the roadway. One drowned during a rescue attempt, and one suffered a fatal heart attack while inhaling toxic fumes from a train derailment.

In October 2001, the Fallen Trooper Memorial was dedicated in front of the MSP Academy in Lansing, depicting all the names. The honor roll of fallen troopers begins with Trooper Harold Anderson from Hastings who was assigned to the Farmington Detachment. Anderson enlisted September 1, 1919, and was killed March 12, 1921, age 25. In the early hours of this date, neighbors reported a suspicious vehicle in the neighborhood. The operator called the local MSP Mounted Detachment. Lacking a patrol car Anderson and Trooper Harold Hughes asked a local deputy to drive them to the scene.

Upon arrival, the two troopers approached the vehicle in which were five people described as groggy and smelling of liquor. Suspecting them of rum running,

Anderson and Hughes attempted to remove the passengers from the vehicle. The driver pulled out a concealed pistol and shot Anderson point blank in the chest.

Anderson died while being driven to the doctor.

Investigation revealed the culprits doubled back and later shot a Detroit police officer.  It was determined that the two murders were related and the arrested “notorious gang of bootleggers, hijackers, and prize fighters” were the primary suspects and charged with the murders.

Before becoming a trooper, Anderson served in France with the 174th Aero-Squadron during World War I.

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