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Executive Committee member killed in crash remembered

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: February 5, 2022


By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor with excerpts from news media

Flint Police Captain Collin Birnie, a POLC Executive Committee member, was killed in a two-vehicle crash Feb. 4 in Mt. Morris Township, police said.

Capt. Birnie’s vehicle was struck head-on by a Chevy Traverse on Elms Road, between Mt. Morris and Frances roads, Mt. Morris Township Police Chief Michael Veach said in a MLive-The Flint Journal article.

“We are extremely saddened by the sudden loss of Collin,” said POLC Director Rob Figurski. “He was a well-respected leader of the POLC and his department. Collin served his country both in the Marines and throughout his law enforcement career. His passing weighs heavily on all of us. Unfortunately, his life was taken way too soon. He had so much more to contribute, and he will be dearly missed. Our sincerest condolences to his family and the members of the Flint Police Department.”

The collision happened while Birnie was driving northbound about 6 p.m., Veach said in the article. Birnie, 53, was transported to Hurley Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased. Veach said he could not comment on the condition of the licensed teen driving the Chevy Traverse.

“According to witness statements, (the juvenile) was passing vehicles on the left, heading southbound, and lost control, hitting (Birnie) head-on,” Veach said in the article.

Michigan State Police assisted Mt. Morris Police with the investigation at the scene.

“With very heavy hearts, we regret to inform you that Flint PD Captain Collin Birnie died tonight as the result of a traffic crash while on duty,” The Flint Police posted on their Facebook page. “Captain Birnie served with the Flint Police Department for 26 years. His family is asking for privacy at this time. Funeral arrangements will be forthcoming.”

As a Captain in charge of Special Operations and Identification Bureaus, Birnie’s duties included: Bomb Squad, Emergency Management, Dignitary Protection, Honor Guard and Firearms Instructor. He was the Local Union President for Flint Captains and Lieutenants Association. He had served as Steward, Secretary and Treasurer of the Captains and Lieutenants Association. A U.S. Marine Corps Veteran (1988-1992), he was assigned to Security Force Company and an Infantry Battalion and served in Operation Desert Shield and Storm.

Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley released the following statement: “We’re saddened by the sudden passing of Captain Collin Birnie. He was a beloved and well-respected leader that took pride in serving and protecting the residents of Flint and Genesee County. We offer our sincere condolences to his family and all those that loved him. Please keep his family in your prayers.”

Capt. Birnie is survived by his wife, Tina, two daughters and two granddaughters.

A memorial service was held Feb. 11, 2022 at St. Paul Episcopal Church, 711 S. Saginaw in Flint with Police and Military honors to follow. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Swartz Funeral Home in Flint. Please click on Captain Birnie’s obituary below for more details and to share your condolences and/or send flowers.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered U.S. and Michigan flags within the State Capitol Complex and at all Michigan public buildings and grounds to be lowered to half-staff Feb. 11 in honor of Captain Birnie, coinciding with the date of his funeral. Michigan residents, businesses, schools, local governments, and other organizations also are encouraged to display the flag at half-staff.

“I want to offer my condolences to Captain Collin Birnie’s family, friends, and fellow officers. The state of Michigan is grateful for his decades of service and bravery,” Whitmer said. “As we honor Captain Birnie’s service to the Flint community, my heart goes out to all those who knew him. We will work together to honor his legacy by continuing to have our law enforcement officers’ backs and making investments to protect public safety.”

Officer Collin Rose Memorial Foundation has organized two fundraisers for his family, including the sale of a Collin Birnie Memorial Coin. Please click on the links below for more information.

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