The incident that took place in the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 2014 that took the life of Grant Whitaker has forever changed the lives of many Stockbridge residents.
Born, raised and educated in Stockbridge, Grant chose to start his career with the Stockbridge Police Department before joining the Ingham County Sheriff’s Department in 2012. His passion for his work was clear and he was proud to wear badge #5497 not as a career, but as a calling.
The memorial service for Deputy Whitaker took place Dec. 12, 2014 from the St. Mary Catholic Church in Chelsea with Rev. Dr. William J. Turner officiating. Attendance went well beyond the 700 seating capacity of the Church and even with an overflow tent outside, it was standing room only.
Police officers from nearly every community in the state and even from outside Michigan stood at attention to pay their last respects and offer comfort to the family.
“This was Grant’s day,” said his father Clyde.
Metro Detroit Police and Fire Pipes and Drums accompanied the honor guard in the processions playing the final tribute to Deputy Whitaker.
A line of nearly 100 patrol cars, emergency light flashing, led the three mile long precession to Oaklawn Cemetery in Stockbridge where officers stood with respect and heartfelt emotion to meet the flag covered coffin.
A helicopter flew over head and 21 shots were fired in salute before the flag was presented to Grant’s mother.
The final call to service for Deputy Whitaker came as an emotional radio dispatch that penetrated the air. “This is the last call for Grant William Whitaker. End of watch, Dec. 7, 2014. Gone but you will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, my friend. We have the watch from here. Show you en route to your new duty assignment.”
On Peace Officers Memorial Day May 15, 2015 Deputy Grant Whitaker will have his name engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.
An event of this magnitude is very difficult to manage logistically but it was performed to perfection thanks to the efforts of Terry Jungle, Executive Director of the Michigan Sheriff’s Association and the Sheriff’s & Municipal Memorial Assistance Response Team along with Staffan-Mitchell Funeral Home.