Large Crowd Turns Out To Remember Sergeant Killed In Line Of Duty | WMUK

Large Crowd Turns Out To Remember Sergeant Killed In Line Of Duty

Aug 22, 2021

The hearse leads the procession to Miller Auditorium for Sgt. Ryan Proxmire's memorial service
Credit John McNeill / WMUK

Police officials from all over the Midwest came to Kalamazoo Sunday to Memorialize Sergeant Ryan Proxmire.

Proxmire was shot and wounded last weekend while pursuing a suspect in eastern Kalamazoo County. He died the next day. Residents, parents and their children lined Stadium Drive, flew flags and solemnly watched as the hearse and hundreds of Police Cruisers, fire engines and buses slowly traveled down Stadium Drive to the public memorial at Miller Auditorium.

During Sunday’s memorial service at Miller Auditorium, his wife Roanna thanked the assembled officers, numbering in the thousands for their service and the community for the support they have shown. 

“I’ve seen an enormous community pull together, and it’s overwhelming and breath taking and humbling”

Sunday's memorial service for Sgt. Ryan Proxmire at Miller Auditorium
Credit John McNeill / WMUK

One Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Deputy says he and others can only hope to become half the deputy that Ryan Proxmire was. His father, Mark Proxmire says his heart was hardened by the violent death of his son, but softened again seeing people line up for the procession to Miller Auditorium

“What went on today along Stadium Drive getting here, all you people showing up to show your support and the kind words that are being said it really helps, helps melt my heart."

Sheriff Rick Fuller announced at the service that in addition to posthumously elevating Proxmire to Sergeant, he has been awarded a Purple Heart and the Medal of Valor.

“It’s the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office highest award. The Medal of Valor shall be awarded when a member performs a voluntary act above and beyond the call of duty”

Ryan Proxmire was 39. An online fundraising campaign has been set up for the Proxmire family. Their initial goal was to raise $4607 to match Proxmire’s badge number. Donors exceeded that amount shortly after the campaign went public. 

Proxmire was the third first-responder to be killed in the line of duty in Kalamazoo County in the last decade. Kalamazoo Public Safety officer Eric Zapata was shot and killed in 2011 in the Edison Neighborhood. Comstock Fire Chief Ed Switalski was struck and killed by a speeder in 2017 along I-94.