Only Niles trooper to die in line of duty remembered

Published 1:32 pm Friday, October 12, 2012

Leader photo/KATIE ROHMAN Troopers perform a gun salute during a ceremony Friday for fallen trooper Steve DeVries, who died in the line of duty Oct. 12, 1972.

“All these years, you don’t forget,” retired Michigan State Police detective Logan Tisdale said. “I think about it every day.”

Leader photo/KATIE ROHMAN Current and former state troopers and family of Tpr. Steve DeVries, who died Oct. 12, 1972, at age 32, saluted Friday the only Niles trooper to die in the line of duty.

Tisdale was one of many current and retired troopers and family members Friday morning that saluted the only Niles trooper ever to die in the line of duty during a ceremony at the Law Enforcement Complex.

Trp. Steve DeVries, 32, was working his first day back from vacation Oct. 12, 1972. DeVries stopped a bank robber, Kenneth Oliver, who had just kidnapped a former bank employee and locked him in his car trunk before driving the stolen car to First National Bank of Southwestern Michigan in Niles. The suspect forced a teller inside a vault and stole $40,000.

DeVries stopped Oliver for speeding when the suspect pulled out a revolver and shot the trooper several times. He was later pronounced dead at Pawating Hospital in Niles.

Oliver was sentenced to several life terms in prison.

“He was just a super trooper,” Tisdale said of DeVries, nicknamed “Deep Freeze.”

For a detailed account of the crime and DeVries’ sacrifice, visit and read previously published articles by Trp. Rob Herbstreith and reporter Craig Haupert.