Shelby Township — The Officer Collin Rose Memorial Fund’s Ride for Rose, which started Sunday at noon, had two obstacles from the outset: the weather, just north of the freezing point but still plenty chilly, and the calendar, April 1, which not only would’ve been Rose’s 31st birthday, but this year was also Easter Sunday.

Turnout to the ride was modest, just five people, but so too was its aim: to ride 31 miles in honor of Rose’s memory, on his birthday, and for the riders, among them his fiancee Nikki Salgot, to share stories about their loved one — maybe someone would tell one that the people who knew him best hadn’t heard before.

Chris Powell, president of the memorial fund, was Rose’s training officer when he hired at the WSU Police Department.

“It was an immediate friendship,” Powell said. “Collin wanted to work all day. Even when he got a butt-chewing for working too much, he’d get right back out on the street. He loved the work and he loved having contact with the public.”

They patrolled the same streets, drank at the same brewery, became members of the same mug club, and traveled whenever they could to pay their respects to officers killed in the line of duty, including a trip to Boston five years ago when a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was killed by the Boston Marathon bombers.

Powell, 36, takes a special interest in honoring fallen officers locally and around the country. Powell’s influence is why in 2013, the month after the MIT officer was slain, Rose took part in his first Police Unity Tour, a 300-plus mile bike ride fundraiser from New Jersey to the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C.

It was at the 2016 unity tour that Rose proposed marriage to Salgot, and she accepted.

But just months later, on Nov. 22, 2016, Rose was shot in the head after stopping to investigate a man riding a bike on Lincoln near Selden Street just off the Wayne State campus. He died the next day, at 29.

In February, Raymond Durham, the man accused of killing Rose, was found incompetent to stand trial in the slaying of the university police officer.

The Ride for Rose concept came about in 2017, Powell said. A 30-mile bike ride on what should have been his 30th birthday. As each year passes, another mile is added to the trek.

Last year’s ride had a bit more fanfare. It took place down Lakeshore Drive, with all of the Grosse Pointe communities offering police assistance.

This year’s ride is more “low-key,” Powell said. It started at the Dequindre entrance of the Macomb Orchard Trail, a blink-and-you’ll miss it trail with no entrance for automobiles, which had to be parked across the street.

The foundation now sends sympathy cards when police die in the line of duty, Powell said. It holds golf outings and has created trading cards for Rose’s former K9 partner, Wolverine, as well as Havoc, a K9 Rose trained and sought to sell at the time he was killed. The training cards, Powell explained, are a way of addressing the public’s interest in K9 officers without placing undue social demands on the dogs themselves. The foundation has also donated thousands of dollars.

Sunday’s ride, though, is about the memory and not the money. Less important than how many people show up is that the people who did were moved by the life and works of an officer and a man held in such high regard he was promoted, in death, to the rank of sergeant.

“We’ve been able to do a lot of good in (Rose’s) name,” Powell said just before the ride began.

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