Five graduates of Ferris’ criminal justice program have fallen in the line of duty.
Officer Dean Whitehead graduated from Ferris’ criminal justice program in 1976. He died on May 9, 1985 in a helicopter crash while working for the City of Lansing Police Department.
Officer Brian Egelski of Alpena, Michigan graduated from Ferris in 1989 and continued on to attend the Michigan State Police Academy. He was working in St. Clair, Michigan when he died due to the cruiser he was driving being struck by another car on July 11, 1994.
Officer Jessica Nagle-Wilson of Warren, Michigan graduated from Ferris in 2000. She was working for the Hazel Park Police Department when she was killed on July 28, 2002. While responding to a noisy dog complaint, a man standing on the porch opened fire on her with a shotgun.
Officer J. Ryan McCandless graduated from Ferris in 2005. He was working for the Rapids City Police Department in South Dakota when he died on Aug. 2, 2011. While questioning four suspicious subjects at an intersection, one pulled out a handgun and shot McCandless and the other two officers he was with.
Officer Trevor Slot of the Walker, Michigan Police Department was killed on Oct. 13, 2011 while in a high-speed chase of two bank robbers in Ravenna, Michigan.
“I have the highest of admiration for all the officers and really all of those who put their lives on the line each day,” criminal justice junior Helen Datkovic said. “It takes a special kind of willpower and state of mind to be able to know that you could be in a dangerous position at any given time.”
The third annual Fallen Officer 5k Memorial Run was held on Sunday, April 26 to honor and remember these fallen officers and raise funds for the Jessica Nagle-Wilson Scholarship Fund. This $1,000 scholarship is given to a current Ferris criminal justice student each year, and Datkovic was this year’s recipient.
Criminal justice senior Shannon Fick brought this event to Ferris in 2012 through Lambda Alpha Epsilon, Ferris’ criminal justice fraternity.
“We wanted to give back to the community here at Ferris and what better way than to honor the five officers that fell from Ferris?” Fick said. “I wanted to hold the race but never really had the aspect to do it but then I got the role of the philanthropy chair my sophomore year and I brought it up as an idea.”
The Fallen Officer 5K has evolved and expanded in its three years, and will hopefully continue to grow as an annual event in the years that follow.
Criminal justice senior Steven Van Alstine attended the race last year and has hope for its future development.
“Hopefully this will be something we can keep on rolling this year, growing the numbers, and getting more people to come out,” Van Alstine said.