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Paw Paw Post Trooper Receives International Recognition

Tpr. Mark Fletcher Named IACP/Motorola Solutions Trooper of the Year

Tpr. Mark Fletcher

The Michigan State Police (MSP) is proud to announce that Tpr. Mark Fletcher of the Paw Paw Post has been named the 2020 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)/Motorola Solutions Trooper of the Year. Fletcher is being recognized for his courageous actions during a deadly home invasion in Comstock Township in which he and two fellow officers were also shot.

“We are proud to honor Trooper Fletcher as the 2020 Trooper of the Year for his courageous actions and selfless commitment to his fellow officers,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Trooper Fletcher has served the people of Michigan honorably and embodies the qualities of a true public servant.”

On Dec. 1, 2019, Fletcher responded to a home invasion in Comstock Township, in which one of the residents had been taken hostage by the intruder. Upon arriving at the scene, Fletcher and his fellow officers determined the home was occupied by an adult male and female, Christopher and Haley Neal, and their young daughter. While the young mom and her daughter were able to flee to an upstairs room, Chris, 22 (the dad and husband), was taken hostage by the armed intruder (a stranger) in a downstairs bedroom. As the officers planned a course of action, they heard a gunshot from inside the home, causing them to immediately make entry in an attempt to rescue the family.

Once inside, and when they determined the male hostage was unharmed, they safely rescued the woman and her child. As the officers attempted to negotiate with the gunman, he continued to fire shots intermittently through the floor and walls into adjacent rooms, eventually striking three of the responding officers, including Fletcher.

Fletcher immediately rendered first aid to one of the injured officers before realizing he had also been shot below the knee. Fletcher then utilized his tourniquet on his own leg and continued administering first aid to one of the injured officers as he and the other two officers were transported to the hospital.

The gunman ultimately broke a window and left the residence, but he didn’t get far, as officers outside the home were able to apprehend him and take him into custody. It was later determined that the gunman, William Paul Jones, 36, killed Christopher Neal before fleeing the home.

Thankfully, the wounded officers recovered from their injuries and Fletcher returned to duty a few weeks later.

“Trooper Fletcher’s bravery while under fire and his concern for others over himself is admirable and in keeping with the highest standards of our profession,” said Col. Joe Gasper, director of the Michigan State Police. “His selfless and courageous actions are what we hope to instill in our troopers when they find themselves in such harrowing circumstances.”

The IACP and Motorola Solutions partner each year to highlight officers who have demonstrated bravery, courage, leadership and professionalism in the performance of their duties.

Watch a video interview with Fletcher (and some live footage of the call) at https://vimeo.com/555319992/c0055e891d.

Fletcher joined the MSP in June of 2017, graduating as a member of the 133rd Trooper Recruit School.

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union

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