GRPD honors officer, civilian employees of the year

12:16 AM, Mar 26, 2013   |    comments
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  • Officer James Butler, Grand Rapids Police Officer of the Year
  • Rodrick Shonte Dantzler

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The city's police officer of the year is a man who learned just how well his fellow officers can work together in one of the city's worst days in history.

The department Monday awarded the officer of the year honor to James Butler, who has been with the Grand Rapids Police since 2007. The ceremony was held at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

Butler is a member of the Special Response Team, which responds to tactical events: standoffs, hostage situations and high-risk police searches. He joined the team in April 2011.

One of the first such situations he responded to was the July 2011 standoff with Rodrick Dantzler, who killed seven people and held three more hostage before taking his own life.

"It was quite an eye opener," says Butler. "I was trying to feed off of what the other guys with more time were doing. I saw just how good a team it was, what they were doing. I wasn't up to their par yet, but seeing how they reacted helped me get through that."

Butler also trains fellow officers in defensive tactics and field work.

The police department tonight also named building maintenance mechanic Chuck Murray as its civilian employee of the year.

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