Cass County honors fallen deputy at memorial service

Published 2:56 pm Wednesday, May 17, 2023

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CASSOPOLIS — The Cass County Sheriff’s Office spent Wednesday afternoon honoring a deputy who died in the line of duty.

Dozens of guests – officers, family and friends – gathered around the Cass County Sheriff’s Office Memorial Garden Wednesday afternoon for the annual Police Officers Memorial Service in memory of Deputy Shane Britton.

The event has been hosted every year since 2001 in conjunction with National Police Officers Week with the exception of the 2020 event, which was canceled due to the pandemic.

The service included a presentation of colors by the Cass County Honor Guard followed by an invocation from the chaplain Randy Peterson. After a law enforcement prayer from captain Tom Jacobs, Britton’s widow, Lynn Dekker, delivered a speech.

 “We are so thankful for Police Week and we are so thankful for each one of you and to come and support and remember today,” she said. “We are definitely thankful for all the police officers who serve their communities.”

Britton joined the Cass County Sheriff’s Office in March 1999 after serving as a reserve officer in Hudsonville. He died in the line of duty at approximately 11:10 p.m. July 19, 1999 while responding to a call for assistance from the Ontwa Township Police Department. Eighteen years after his father’s death, Britton’s son, Luke, joined the Dowagiac Police Department as a way of carrying on his father’s legacy.

To this day, Britton is the only Cass County Sheriff’s Office deputy killed in the line of duty.

“Shane Britton would have been in his 24th year of service in Cass County this year,” said Cass County Sheriff Rick Behnke. “He was a dedicated officer, devoted both to his family and faith. I’m positive he would have been a great deputy and risen up the ranks of this organization; he showed all the promise in the world before he was taken from us too soon. 

“But we continue to honor him as we will into the future as well, as he did pay the ultimate sacrifice of losing his life in the line of duty. Thank you for coming out and supporting us.”