Bill to name part of Van Dyke after fallen officer moves forward

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published December 3, 2018

 Christopher M. Wouters

Christopher M. Wouters

WARREN — Legislation aimed at designating a portion of Van Dyke Avenue after a Warren police officer killed in the line of duty looks to be heading to the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives for a full vote.  

House Bill 6147 — introduced by state Rep. Patrick Green, D-Warren, with bipartisan support from other lawmakers, including Macomb County’s legislative delegation — seeks to honor Detective Sgt. Christopher M. Wouters by naming a portion of Van Dyke between Eight Mile and 14 Mile roads as the Detective Sgt. Christopher M. Wouters Memorial Highway. Van Dyke is also designated by the state of Michigan as M-53.   

Wouters, 42, was killed on Oct. 11, 2000, during a struggle with a narcotics suspect inside the jail at the Warren Police Department. He left behind a wife and three children.

“Detective Sgt. Wouters bravely served the Warren community for almost 20 years,” Green said in a press release announcing the bill’s movement from the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to the House floor. “Even in the face of imminent danger, he would not hesitate to throw himself in harm’s way if it meant helping others, as demonstrated by this act of heroism. He was the epitome of public service, and those that knew him would tell you he displayed those same honorable characteristics in all facets of his life.”

The legislative analysis indicates that the dedication would come at no cost to the state. Signage or markers bearing the name of the highway would be provided by the Michigan Department of Transportation only “when sufficient private contributions are received to completely cover the cost of erecting and maintaining those markers.”

Green said it was estimated that the markers would cost about $3,500.

“We shouldn’t have any problem with that,” Green said.

He added that he communicated with members of the Wouters family before work began on the bill last summer.

“We did it when we initially drafted the bill and showed them a copy of it several months ago,” Green said. “They were very happy with it.”

Warren’s Police Headquarters complex and Fraternal Order of Police lodge were previously renamed in honor of Wouters.

Mike Sauger, president of the Warren Police Officers Association, said the latest honor is equally fitting.

“We always remember the fallen, and by honoring Sgt. Wouters with this honor, we can always remember the sacrifice he made for the citizens of Warren,” Sauger said.

Green, who will leave office on Jan. 1, said he’s optimistic that the bill will be voted on in December before the legislative recess.