Officers from around nation gather for Rose funeral

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

St. Clair Shores — More than a thousand officers from Michigan and beyond gathered Thursday at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church to say goodbye to Wayne State University Sgt. Collin Rose, killed in the line of duty.

Rose died Nov. 23, one day after he was shot in the head near Lincoln and Brainard in Detroit. The K-9 handler died with the rank of officer, but was posthumously promoted to sergeant.

Police commanders from Wayne State University, left, and the Detroit Police Department console each other before they enter St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church on Thursday in St. Clair Shores. Police officers, friends and family gathered for Wayne State University K-9 police officer Collin Rose’s funeral.

“Love permeated (Rose’s) life. Having passion for others permeated his life,” Monsignor Michael Bugarin said in his homily before a packed church. “What a tragedy that his life came to an end because one person didn’t look him in the eye and see him as part of God’s creation.”

Accused shooter DeAngelo Davis has been charged with first-degree murder, murder of a police officer, being a felon in possession of a firearm, three felony firearm charges and being a habitual offender. He faces up to life in prison without parole on the murder charges.

Bugarin compared humanity to the giant mosaic behind the church’s altar, depicting the life of Joan of Arc.

“Every single piece on that mosaic is important; every single piece is part of the artist’s design for that mural,” he said. “My friends, we have to stop judging. We have to start seeing each other as part of (God’s) vast mosaic.”

Rose’s casket was wheeled into the sanctuary Thursday morning led by 12 bagpipers, seven drummers and emotional family members. As the church pews filled for the service, they became a melting pot of the thin blue line, from Michigan to New York, California and Canada. Almost all the officers were dressed in their blues with tiny blue ribbons pinned to their lapels.

“We trained police dogs with Collin; we went down to Alpena and got to know him,” said Constable Scott Morier of the Winnipeg Police Department. “He was passionate. He studied: We’d always find him behind a computer or behind a book.”

Bugarin said Rose had a catchphrase whenever he was thanked for his on-the-job efforts: “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he would say. “I love my job.”

Bugarin echoed Rose’s own words to close the homily.

“Not even someone who takes another life can separate us from God’s love,” Bugarin said. “That’s God’s promise, and we thank God that He wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Imagine Midtown without Officer Collin Rose

Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson, university police Chief Anthony Holt, and Detroit police Chief James Craig all eulogized Rose after the service.

Rose was working toward a master’s degree in dispute resolution, according to Wilson. He was one credit shy of graduation.

“I am pleased to announce that the university will be awarding him his degree posthumously at our December commencement,” Wilson said. The university also is offering a scholarship in Rose’s name.

Holt said Rose was known in the neighborhood to the students and children, who challenged him to foot races and delighted in meeting his dogs.

“I will miss him dearly,” he said. “Simply put: He was special.”

Craig said the department is reeling in the wake of Rose’s death, recent threats against its own officers, and the Sept. 17 death of Capt. Kenneth Steil, shot while pursuing a suspect in Detroit.

Following the service, row upon row of officers stood at attention outside and saluted Rose’s casket. Dozens of police dogs, including Rose’s dog, Wolverine, stood with their handlers, fidgeting and whining in the otherwise quiet gathering.

Lt. John Banta of the San Francisco Police Department watched the massive funeral procession leave for Resurrection Cemetery in Clinton Township.

“What brought me out here? Sgt. Collin Rose, murdered in the line of duty,” he said. “I fly in, I stay at the hotel, I get dressed up, just to do this ... ”

Banta fell silent and saluted toward the church.

“That’s it,” he said.

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Twitter: @HollyPFournier

Official honor

Flags have been ordered to be flown at half-staff Friday in honor of Wayne State University Police Officer Collin Rose, who was shot while on duty Nov. 22.

The K-9 officer had stopped a man near Lincoln and Brainard when he was shot. Rose died the next day.

Rose was one credit away from getting his master’s degree in police administration from Wayne State University and was engaged to be married next October.