Troopers across the state of Michigan are mourning the death of Trooper Paul Butterfield II after he was shot during a traffic stop in Mason County, and later died, Monday, September 9, 2013.
Michigan State Police (MSP) said Butterfield stopped a vehicle in Mason County, located in western Michigan at 6:20 p.m. Three minutes later a passing motorist found Butterfield on the ground with a gunshot wound to the head.
MSP said the call Butterfield made to dispatch providing his location and vehicle information played a very important role and led them to the suspects involved in the shooting.
On Tuesday, TV6 went on a ride with Trooper Stacey Rasanen to find out some of the precautions officers take during a traffic stop.
"81-15 making a traffic stop at Menards and 41...Michigan Plate," said Trooper Stacey Rasanen with the Michigan State Police Negaunee Post.
It is a call almost every state trooper makes before stopping a vehicle while out on patrol.
"It allows dispatch to know who you're pulling over and how many subjects, potentially, that you have in the car and the license plate with information about that vehicle so that if something happens to you, you can get other units to help assist at the scene," Rasanen said.
Cadets are required to go through testing, interviews and 21 weeks of training at the academy before they can become state troopers. The training also includes the proper techniques while pulling over a vehicle.
"When you make that first traffic stop, you have to be paying attention to the car that you're pulling over and that you're doing it in a safe position and a safe manner for yourself and the citizen that you're pulling over along with watching for traffic on the road," Rasanen said.
Corporal Guy LaPlante with Northern Michigan University's Public Safety said traffic stops are never routine.
"Traffic stops are low-risk, high-risk, and they have a lot of unknowns and they are very unpredictable. At any given moment, anything can happen," said Corporal LaPlante.
Rassanen and LaPlante could not give any further details on what they are required to do during every traffic stop because it could put an officer in danger.
Trooper Rasanen added traffic stops are just one of the many dangers troopers face on a daily basis.
"The department gives us the training and techniques used on the road to make sure we go home at the end of the shift, but we all know that we might have to make the ultimate sacrifice," Rasanen said.
A sacrifice 43-year-old Trooper Paul Butterfield made after spending over a decade with the MSP making him the 51st trooper to die in the line of duty.