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Police salute a fallen colleague

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WEST MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Police across West Michigan paused to salute a fallen colleague on Wednesday.

Norton Shores Officer Jonathan Ginka was killed in an overnight crash. He received a special tribute in Kalamazoo.

Officers that Newschannel 3 spoke with said it was their duty to salute Officer Ginka, they say they just wanted to honor an officer who gave everything he had.

It was a solemn tribute for a fallen brother. Officers lined a street in Kalamazoo to salute the black hearse carrying the body of Norton Shores Police Officer Jonathan Ginka.

“We didn’t work with Officer Ginka, and I don’t know if anybody knew him,” said Sgt. Jason Hendrick, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, “but what we do know is we all have families, kids, and wives, moms, and dads, and we can imagine the loss they are going through. We’ve gone through it ourselves too.”

34-year-old Officer Ginka died Wednesday morning after he went off the road and crashed into a tree, leaving behind a wife and two kids.

“If you do this job long enough, you will attend similar events,” said Sgt. Hendrick. “Unfortunately, for lack of a better word, the script was already written as soon as we heard it, unfortunately we can pull that book off the shelf and know exactly what to do.”

The procession led by Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and joined by WMU police was quickly planned to honor the ten-year veteran.

“Take away a title, take away the fact that this is what he did, but this wasn’t who he was,” said Sgt. Hendrick. “He was a father, a husband, and all of those things that everybody is.”

The police escort made its way out of Kalamazoo and led Officer Ginka back home to Norton Shores, a fitting farewell for a hero.

Police are still investigating the cause of the crash.

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