Local Michigan State Police Post Mourns Fallen Trooper, Says He Followed Protocol

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

It's been 14 years, but Michigan State Trooper Robert Schwalm still remembers what it was like to train next to Paul Butterfield in the academy.

"He was self-motivated and driven and very proud to be where he was," said Schwalm.

Always striving to be better, Trooper Butterfield took that mentality with him, following all the necessary protocol before he was fatally shot, Monday night, during a traffic stop. It showed Schwalm and the rest of the Lansing Post, you can do everything right and still have tragic results.

"Sad just doesn't even come close to what it really means," said Schwalm.

Trooper Butterfields name will be the 51st added to the Fallen Troopers Memorial outside of the MSP Training Academy, where traffic stop protocol remains a big focus.

"Right from the first week that they come here, we start training with them in patrols and approaching vehicles," said Sgt. David Winter, who trains troopers in patrols and water safety at the Training Academy. "Classroom instruction, as well as hands-on instruction."

It's training Michigan State Trooper Les Rochefort has been following since leaving the academy a year and a half ago.

"You conduct the stop, make sure dispatch knows where you're at," said Rochefort. "You always approach, but try to stay back a little bit. Make them look back at you."

Rochefort told News 10 he doesn't always give a vehicle description to dispatch, opting to send plate information, instead. Sgt. Winter says it's trooper police to give a vehicle description for every stop because it helps to quickly solve cases, like Trooper Butterfield's.

"It would have been much more difficult to find the person responsible," he said.

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