TEXAS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s not just family and friends who are remembering Officer Jonathan Ginka Wednesday.
“Like a sledgehammer to the face,” said Todd Christensen, an instructor at Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Law Enforcement Training Center. “And then a semi-truck to the heart. It’s tough, you know.”
Ginka, a 10-year veteran of the Norton Shores Police Department, was killed Wednesday morning after his cruiser crashed into a tree.
He attended the police academy at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, which is where he met Christensen.
Although it’s been more than 10 years since student and teacher met, Christensen still remembers the fallen officer and how Ginka finally passed his physical fitness tests. He says the classes form a special bond while in the academy.
“It stings,” Christensen said. “It stings even more when you lose someone like that.”
A wall inside the police academy training room, where Ginka was once a cadet himself, honors those former cadets who have died in the line of duty.
“At the beginning of every class, every morning, they start with a formation out here and a 15-second silent solute to honor those who have lost their lives,” said Christensen.
He says he teaches cadets about the risks of becoming a police officer.
“The benefits of being a police officer outweigh the risks, because there are so many that are so great,” Christensen said.
He said gun violence and traffic accidents are the leading causes of death among police officers killed in the line of duty.