RICHLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — The 29-year-old Wayne State University officer shot and killed in Detroit started his career in West Michigan.
Collin Rose, 29, started took his first job in law enforcement protecting a village of 700 people near Kalamazoo.
Richland Police Chief Jeff Mattioli remembers the kid he hired first as an intern and then as a rookie cop as a young man with a limitless future.
Mattioli spoke to 24 Hour News 8 a few hours before Rose died.
“I mean, he had a rocket tied to him, all-American kid and an awesome officer,” Mattioli said.
Rose was the captain of his football team at Gull Lake High School where he graduated in 2006.
While he was in high school, he took courses in criminal justice and interned at Richland’s police department, tagging along on patrols when he could and helping maintain computers for the seven-officer department.
“(He was) really intelligent, very smart, great with computers,” Mattioli said. “He’s not the Robocop type; he was smiles. He worked hard, he knew how to handle himself, but like I said, big smiles and that calms people down a lot. Unfortunately, it didn’t last night.”
The chief said Rose interned for two years with the department before he went away to Ferris State University to get his degree.
“Everything Collin really did was exceptional. There was no slacking with him,” Mattioli said. “A lot of officers start out slowly; you almost have to feel your way through this career a little bit. He hit the ground running.”
In late 2010 when Rose returned to the area where his parents still lived, he was immediately hired.
Rose left his mark on the tiny department.
“You always knew when Collin was there; big personality,” Mattioli said. “Collin was here for just a few weeks and started making cases that sometimes take other officers quite a while to learn.”
But Rose did not stay long. Within a year, he was off to Wayne County.
“Collin wanted to (go to) a bigger department where it was busy and (there was) more action, and that’s what he did.”
Now the chief says he and the entire community are shocked.
“It is a community loss (with) all officers, (when) you lose any officer, but he is one that was a true asset to a community,” Mattioli said.
Rose is not the first officer close to the chief who has been the victim of deadly violence. Mattioli previously served as the rookie partner-in-training to Grand Haven Police Officer Scott Flahive, who was killed Dec. 13, 1994 after approaching a car where a man with a rifle was lying in wait.
Mattioli says danger comes with the job, but things seem different now.
“In the last week, I think, we’ve lost four or five (officers in) execution-style ambushes,” he said.
The chief is worried about his officers and officers everywhere.
“You feel like there is a target on you. But again, I want to tell my guys don’t take anything for granted, don’t become complacent,” said Mattioli.
Despite the danger, Mattioli says it is still important for his officers to remain out in the community and approachable. He says he wants more officers like Rose: liked, respected and driven.