Fundraisers support fallen officer’s family
By Eric Czarnik
Posted September 20, 2012
More than a week after West Bloomfield police officer Patrick O’Rourke was killed in the line of duty, community outreach has continued to pour into the department and to the officer’s family, according to police staff.
Police Chief Michael Patton said his officers are still working through their sorrow, and counseling has been available for them. He said he has been getting cards and letters from the law enforcement community and agencies big and small throughout the country.
“The law enforcement community is a tremendously close-knit community,” he said. “They’re all expressing their thoughts and prayers. … They know the pain that we’re going through here. “
O’Rourke was fatally shot Sept. 9 while responding to a report of gunfire at a home in the 4000 block of Forest Edge in West Bloomfield. Ricky Coley, 50, of West Bloomfield shot the officer, police said.
After a standoff that lasted approximately 20 hours, police discovered that Coley was dead. An autopsy concluded that the death was caused by a shot in his mouth.
More than 1,000 residents, mourners and local dignitaries flocked to a Sept. 11 prayer vigil remembering O’Rourke’s life. Gov. Rick Snyder called for flags to fly at half-mast for Sept. 14, and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department reportedly turned on all of the department’s police lights for 15 seconds in memorial that same day.
Community leaders have helped promote the Officer Patrick O’Rourke Family Trust Fund that will help support his wife and four children.
Police Sgt. Tara Kane declined to provide a total figure for the money raised, but she said local businesses, residents and others are continuing to donate. She said radio station 94.7 WCSX-FM is sponsoring an Oct. 2 benefit concert featuring Fifty Amp Fuse at the Royal Oak Music Theatre.
On Sept. 27, the West Bloomfield Police Foundation will hold its own fundraiser dinner at Planterra in West Bloomfield, which will donate proceeds this year to help the O’Rourke family.
In past years, the Police Foundation has helped police families in other communities, as well as local community groups. But this time, the event is more personal.
“The reason we exist is because of the unfortunate reality that things like this happen in the police community,” Kane said. “We do more than just help public safety families, (but) that was the reason that we began. This is the first time that we have ever had this happen at our own police department.”
The West Bloomfield Police Foundation fundraiser dinner will be held 6 p.m. Sept. 27 at Planterra, 7315 Drake Road, in West Bloomfield. Advance tickets are $60 for one or $100 for two. Learn more at wbpolicefoundation.org or by calling (248) 975-8922.
Donations for the Officer Patrick O’Rourke Family Trust Fund are still being accepted at www.westbloomfieldhero.com and at Bank of America locations.
To learn more about 94.7 WCSX-FM’s Oct. 2 concert, visit www.wcsx.com.
About the author
Staff Writer Eric Czarnik reports on Sterling Heights and Utica Community Schools, and he writes a weekly auto column. He is a Wayne State University graduate who has been employed at C & G Newspapers since 2007.
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