Neighborhood Reacts to the Death of Police Officer

3:23 PM, Mar 21, 2006   |    comments
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Many who knew and admired Muskegon policeman Kevin Stier are asking why. Why he would lead officers on a 30 mile pursuit, only to finally stop and take his own life. The chase started early Monday morning in Muskegon when Officer Stier made a series of calls to central dispatch saying he was armed and suicidal. Deputies followed him all the way to Alpine and Six Mile in Kent County where Stier finally stopped and immediately took his own life. A special operations squad trying to take him into custody didn't realize Stier was dead until he didn't react to a percussion grenade exploded outside his truck. Police say he shot himself. Whatever the issues that led him to take his own life, Officer Stier was admired and respected in the McLaughlin neighborhood of Muskegon. For the past six years he was the McLaughlin community police officer. Officer Stier chose to take his life on the day the McLaughlin neighborhood association held their yearly meeting. As their community police officer, he was scheduled to attend and discuss crime prevention and public safety. Instead the association was mourning his death, remembering his contributions and wondering how he can be replaced. Some at the meeting of the McLaughlin Neighborhood Association were wondering if there was something they could have done to save the life of their 39-year-old community police officer Kevin Stier. Muskegon City Commissioner Clara Shepherd said, “If I had been close by him, maybe I could have talked to him or said something.” Beverly Savage of the McLaughlin Neighborhood Association said, “He didn't tell us he had problems so we are all searching for reasons.” William Muhammad of the McLaughlin Neighborhood Association said, “What could I have done to help the situation? There are always unanswered questions.” Muskegon Director of Public Safety Tony Kleibecker says Officer Stier had an excellent work record, cared about his job and never showed the depth of his depression. “There was nothing we saw that would lead us to believe something like this would happen,” said Kleibecker. “Kevin is single, lives by himself and doesn't have a family. I'm sitting here, we're all sitting back did we miss something.” Even before his death, the McLaughlin neighborhood was preparing to say goodbye to Officer Stier. He was scheduled for reassignment this summer. Leaders of the police department promise a replacement who also cares about their community. Sergeant Charles Flynn of the Community Policing Division said, “We'll try to put an aggressive officer like Kevin in your neighborhood. We're not going to let you down.” Officer Stier left no note to explain his suicide. His funeral is Thursday in Troy. A large number of Muskegon Police officers are expected to attend.

Phil Dawson

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