Police Officer Steven Binkowski
City of Warren (MI) Police Department
Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Police Officer Steven Binkowski as its Officer of the Month for June 2003. Officer Binkowski serves as a patrol officer with the Warren (MI) Police Department.
In April 2001, the Warren Police Department was still reeling from the loss of one of their own. On October 11, 2000, Sergeant Christopher Wouters became the department’s second officer to die in the line of duty when he was shot and killed while apprehending a suspect wanted on drug charges. As members of the department prepared to travel to Washington to attend the dedication of Sergeant Wouters’ name to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, others continued to patrol the same area in which Wouters had lost his life.
No stranger to the perils of police work, Officer Steven Binkowski has found himself in harms way many times during his 17 years with the department. At approximately 2:00 a.m. on April 6, 2001, Officer Binkowski answered a call, the result of which could have ended tragically. Nearing the end of his midnight-to-8 a.m. shift, Officer Binkowski joined the chase for three car-hijacking suspects, who had already exchanged gunfire with officers from the Detroit Police Department. The chase ensued until the suspects pulled into a driveway where they were immediately ordered to get out of the car. Rather than surrender, the suspects backed out of the driveway and sped away. Determined to apprehend the car thieves, Officer Binkowski continued after the vehicle. Once again the suspects opened fire and in the hail of bullets, Officer Binkowski was struck in the neck. Narrowly missing his carotid artery, the bullet lodged in the officer’s shoulder, however, he was able to pull his cruiser off onto the side of the road, safely out of traffic and radio for help. The suspects then crashed their vehicle into a pole, taking off on foot.
By 8 a.m. that same morning Steve Binkowski was recovering in Bi-County Hospital. Knowing how the news of the Wouters’ shooting had traumatized the department, he was eager to let his colleagues know that while seriously injured, he would recover. It became very important to him that he thank the officers who had assisted him after having been shot. He was relieved to learn that thanks to the quick thinking of two FedEx drivers who spotted the suspects hiding under a dumpster, the suspects were now in custody.
Fellow Warren Police Officer David Maye had this to say about Officer Binkowski, “As police officers, we are always aware of the danger that awaits us on the next radio run, traffic stop or subject investigation. Without hesitation, Officer Binkowski arrived on scene to backup fellow officers. He took a bullet that could have been meant for any officer on the scene. After he was struck, he maintained radio communication with Warren dispatch and controlled his scout car to a safe stop. Though he was bleeding profusely, he remained calm and assisted responding Officers in pertinent information concerning the suspects.”
Married and the father of two, Officer Binkowski quite frankly loves his job and his service to the people of Warren, Michigan has been recognized many times throughout his career. In 1990 he received a Departmental Citation for rescuing an elderly couple from their burning home without injury. In 1999 Officer Binkowski responded to a “shots fired” call. When he arrived on the scene he was confronted by a deranged man wielding a rifle, who had opened fire on people in the street, cars, and houses on his street. After it became clear that the suspect would not relinquish his weapon, Binkowski shot and wounded the suspect, taking him safely into custody. Without doubt, had the suspect continued shooting randomly into the street, someone would have been seriously injured or killed that day. For his handling of this stressful situation, Officer Binkowski was named the Warren Police Department’s Officer of the Year for 1999.
It took 200 stitches and many months of disability, but Officer Binkowski was back on patrol in Warren in July 2001. He will always have a large scar on his neck as a reminder of the events of April 6, 2001, and how very close he came to loosing his life. Officer Roland Bell said, “The loss of Sergeant Wouters was our department’s most tragic event to date, and has in no doubt made every one of us consider the tremendous risk we take. Yet Steve continued to answer those calls we take for granted every day without hesitation. With all of these events in mind, Steve returned back to duty just three short months after having been shot, continuing where he left off; working a one-man patrol cruiser in one of our city’s roughest areas on the midnight shift.”
The Police Unity Tour is the official sponsor of the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program.