American Legion Farmington Post honors Iraq War vet as top cop
By Terry Oparka
Posted October 3, 2012
To say that Farmington Hills Police Sgt. Mike Fluhart divides his time is putting it mildly. Fluhart supervises the patrol division of the Farmington Hills Police Department and has been on the job for 23 years. For the past 25 years, Fluhart has lent his expertise to the U.S. Army National Guard as crew chief of a Blackhawk helicopter team that flew 125 successful air combat missions over Iraq from June 2010 to June 2011. He also served in Bosnia from 2005 to 2006.
This past Sept. 11, the American Legion Farmington Post 346 honored Fluhart as Police Officer of the Year.
“We have to dig deeper when our personnel serve in the military, and we feel we’re doing our part for our country,” Farmington Hills Police Chief Chuck Nebus said.
Nebus said Fluhart is gifted in traffic enforcement and has served as a motorcycle officer. Fluhart taught riders from within the Farmington Hills Police Department and riders from other agencies. He also competed in different motorcycle events and earned many awards, said Farmington Hills Police Lt. Michael Ciaramitaro.
Fluhart is also trained in traffic accident reconstruction, which Ciaramitaro said is the highest training available to a crash investigator, earned after more than 200 hours in crash investigation.
“This training allowed him to look much deeper into traffic crashes, conducting speed analysis, vehicle crush analysis and occupant kinematics investigations,” Ciaramitaro explained in an email. “Sgt. Fluhart could determine the speed of vehicles based on their movements after a crash. Prior to black boxes, this was truly an art that required an in-depth knowledge of math and science, a skill police officers do not learn in their normal training,” Ciaramitaro said.
The city of Farmington Hills selected Fluhart as Police Officer of the Year in 1994. Fluhart was first hired as a cadet in 1989. He was promoted to police officer in 1990 and sergeant in 2010.
“It’s a very fitting selection. Sgt. Fluhart fits the bill,” Nebus said of Fluhart’s American Legion award.
Nebus said Fluhart was promoted to sergeant just before he was deployed to Iraq, while he was flying secret missions in western U.S. desert areas, practicing landing and takeoffs in preparation for the mission. The promotion ceremony went on in his absence.
“We tried to use speaker phones to include him, but we were unsuccessful,” Nebus explained.
Fluhart was also a gun range officer, instructing officers in the use of handguns, shotguns and the AR-15 rifle.
“His military training and experience have benefitted the department tremendously,” Ciaramitaro added. “Mike’s the kind of guy that could disassemble and assemble a gun blindfolded.”
“We’re very proud of his accomplishments,” Nebus said. “We’re glad to dig in when service people get called. We feel he is an extension of us.”
About the author
Staff Writer Terry Oparka covers Troy and the Troy School District for the Troy Times. Oparka has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2000 and attended Oakland University and Macomb Community College. Oparka has won an award from the Michigan Press Association and four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Detroit Chapter.
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