12/22/2011

Fallen Mich. cop receives bravery badge

Jackson Police Officer James Bonneau was killed in March 2010

By PoliceOne Staff

JACKSON, Mich. — A 26-year-old officer fatally shot responding to a domestic was awarded the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery.

Jackson Police Officer James Bonneau was killed in March 2010 in a gunbattle with 63-year-old Elvin Potts, the Detroit Free Press reported. Blackman Township Public Safety Officer Darrin McIntosh returned fire, killing Potts. McIntosh was wounded in the exchange, but survived thanks to Bonneau.

Bonneau's parents accepted the badge — awarded by Congress to officers who show extraordinary bravery — Monday at City Hall, sources said. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg reportedly attended.

Bonneau served with his department for three years, according to WLNS, and police are still grappling with the loss of the officer 21 months after his death.

"I've asked myself numerous times, why? I came up with various answers that really never eased my mind," Chief Matt Heins said. "It's been a roller coaster of emotions."

With the award comes a stark reminder of what it took to earn it — "I just hate what he had to do to get this honor," the officer's father said — but its message applies to the heroism Bonneau's fellow officers, and officers nationwide, exhibit daily.

"They face what Jim faced," Bonneau's mother said, referring to law enforcement. "Every car they go to, every door they knock on to answer a call, could be the same for them. Yet they do it every day."

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