Trooper Butterfield loved his job

September 10, 2013

Butterfield, Paul-2By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

Trooper Paul Butterfield loved his job. He was a respected law enforcement officer, member of the community and friend to many. The 43-year-old Michigan State Police trooper died Monday night as a result of a gunshot wound to the head. He was on a routine traffic stop on North Custer Road in Free Soil Township. The two suspects were apprehended, one of them was shot.

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“Paul was a great guy,” Lt. Kevin Leavitt, Hart Post commander said this morning. “He always had a smile on his face. He was soft spoken and a friend to everybody here. He worked in the Mason County area a lot and worked real close with the other agencies. Everybody liked Paul. He was just had a friendly, outgoing personality.”

Butterfield lived in Grant Township in northern Mason County.

“It was the beginning of his shift and he was just a few miles from home,” retired trooper Dale Goodrich said. “He only lived a few miles from me and we talked a lot. He was a solid guy who loved his job. Even when he was off duty he was always vigilant, keeping a watch on things.”

Goodrich said one of the last conversations he had with Butterfield was the fact that Butterfield wanted to be on the road more, interacting with the public.

“He just wanted to do his job and keep the community safe,” Goodrich said.

Goodrich retired recently after 25 years of service. He said he only worked at the same post with Butterfield for a few months but had known him for quite a few years. Prior to being re-assigned to the Hart Post, Butterfield worked in the now shut-down Manistee Post.

“Paul could have worked anywhere in the state but he wanted to be here, in Mason County,” Goodrich said. “He liked this area and enjoyed working with the people here. He was a good partner and a good neighbor.”

Goodrich said it’s difficult to know what happened exactly Monday night. He said law enforcement officers are trained to expect the unexpected. “What I do know is that Paul made it a point to always make contact with the people, he always wanted to talk to the people and see what’s going on. You just never know when things are going to go bad. You don’t want to second guess what happened last night.”

Sheriff Kim Cole said he has worked with Butterfield for many years and considered him a dear friend. “He was a guy who has been to my house. He came to both my kids’ graduation open houses. He was just a great guy.”

The Sheriff said Monday’s murder was a tragedy.

“This is a dark day for our community,” Cole said. “When I got to the scene last night, I sat in the ambulance with Paul. I knew it didn’t look very positive. I was able to talk to him and he responded. He fought to the bitter end.”

Cole said he was very pleased with how all the agencies worked together Monday.

“Nearly every area department came in. We didn’t give the suspects a chance to get away. We monitored all the roads. That’s what law enforcement does. It sounds cliché, but it’s a brotherhood.”

 

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