Fallen officer provides inspiration for new MSP award

Corporal Sam Mapes was killed refusing a prohibition bribe on May 1, 1927.

His actions are now an inspiration for a new Michigan State Police award for proactive police work.

The MSP award recognizes members who excel in looking “past the traffic stop” to identify more serious crimes and for investigations closed with felony arrests.

The award, new for 2016, is not given for any single investigation, but instead awarded to the top five percent of troopers in each district for their outstanding performance of duty and personal commitment to excellence in proactive criminal patrol and criminal investigations.

The 2016 Col. Sam Mapes award recipients for the5th District MSP posts, which includes Niles Post, are:

• Trooper Todd Workman, Wayland

• Trooper Keegan Riley, Marshall

• Trooper Cameron K. Sweet, Niles

• Trooper Ernest Felkers, Wayland

• Trooper Matthew Berry, Marshall

• Trooper James A. Janes, Niles

• Trooper Benjamin A. Mahaffie, Niles

• Trooper John C. Moore, District Hometown Security Team

• Trooper Lena Wileczek, Paw Paw

• Trooper Blaine Bachman, Wayland

(Bold print are Niles troopers)

Readers, know that these troopers are setting the example for law enforcement and are out there in your community keeping you safe and enforcing Michigan laws.

Mapes was killed while investigating a vehicle believed to be transporting illegal liquor.

In the afternoon of May 1, 1927, Mapes stopped two vehicles suspected of hauling boot-leg liquor. The driver of one of the cars offered Mapes a bribe of $300.

Mapes refused the bribe, stopped a motorist and asked him to call for assistance. While Mapes was talking to the motorist, the suspect came up behind him, grabbed his weapon, and fired point blank range into Mape’s body.

The assailant took the mortally wounded officer’s weapon and fled.

The suspect, Charles Coffey, was apprehended in Chicago, after an intense investigation, police chase and rolling gun battle.

He was returned to Michigan, tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Mapes was the seventh MSP officer to die in the line of duty.


Rob Herbstreith is a community service trooper with the Michigan State Police Niles post. Questions or comments can be emailed to TrooperRob53@yahoo.com


Video shows altercation at flag football game in Niles

Breaking News

Fire contained at former Niles Inn

Brandywine Education

Former Brandywine teacher charged with accosting a minor for immoral purposes, use of a computer to commit a felony

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Berrien County reports two COVID-19 deaths

Berrien County

4-H announces alumni, supporters walking challenge


Ballard Elementary, Niles High School to remain remote through end of the week


Niles real estate agent named Realtor of the Year


Evergreen Road special assessment district created

Cass County

Cass County millages on the ballot for May 4


Dowagiac announces March students of the month


Local provisioning centers celebrate cannabis holiday with sales, overcome software snags

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 799,140 cases, 16,986 deaths


DUS to install classroom phones in elementary schools, high school

Berrien County

Berrien County 4-H Leaders Association sets annual meeting


DUS Board of Education honors Class of 2021 Top 10


Buchanan HCU member center lands new leadership

Berrien County

United Way of Southwest Michigan invites community to honor leaders during National Volunteer Week


Buchanan provisioning center raises money to fight cannabis injustices

Cass County

Cass County Sheriff’s Office K9 finds home invasion, larceny suspect

Berrien County

UPDATE: Sheriff’s office finds missing Niles man

Brandywine Education

Teacher resigns after allegedly soliciting 14-year-old

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 793,881 cases, 16,901 deaths


Cassopolis to welcome first marijuana dispensary

Berrien County

Merritt Elementary hosting pet supply drive for area shelters