Our Lodge – Dedicated to Det/Sgt Christopher M Wouters

 

cmwouters-imageOn October 11, 2000, Detective Chris Wouters, working within the Special Investigations Bureau, entered the Warren Jail to interrogate a suspect who had just been arrested for narcotics delivery.

Upon the suspect’s booking procedure, he produced a handgun. An intense struggle ensued between road patrol officers, Chris & the suspect in which several shots were fired. In the end, both the suspect and Chris were shot, sustaining severe injuries. Chris was rushed to the local hospital immediately, however,
his injuries were proven fatal.

In memory of Chris, the Warren / Centerline Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #124, has renamed their lodge as F.O.P., Christopher M. Wouters, Lodge #124

Chris’ Photos

Christopher Michael “Chris” Wouters was born on July 13, 1958, at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Detroit. He was the third of eight children born to Henry and Janice Wouters of Warren, Michigan. The first seven children were born within an 8-1/2 year span. Chris shared a bedroom with his three brothers, while his sisters shared another bedroom. With seven children who were relatively close in age, Chris shared many family activities with his siblings. He was a typical boy growing up in a large family; somewhat of a tease, playing pranks on his brothers and sisters, always being the clown, and trying to make everyone laugh. While he gained the reputation of a prankster, Chris never teased in a hurtful manner. He was a likeable person and everyone wanted to be his playmate and friend.

Chris spent his kindergarten years at Peck, a school very close to home. Beginning in the first grade, he attended St. Clement Catholic School in Center Line, Michigan. Chris received his elementary and high school education at St. Clement. His siblings and neighborhood friends shared the daily, one-mile walk both to and from school. While in high school, he excelled in baseball, basketball, and football, receiving many honors for his achievements in all three sports. Chris was also a tutor of various subjects to underclassmen.

After completing high school, Chris attended Wayne State University on a partial baseball scholarship. He became an All-American second baseman, and established many records, some of which still stand today. He was the most valuable player of the GLIAC (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) and led Wayne State to a championship during his senior year. In 1999, Chris was inducted into the Wayne State Athletic Hall of Fame. After college, he continued playing with several police softball leagues. Bill Gray, a retired police officer, observed, “It was better to have him on your team, instead of playing against him.”

During his school years, Chris had many jobs to earn the money that was not available from his parents because of their large family. During his years at St. Clement, he was, among other things, a paperboy and sanitation assistant. He pumped gas at General Motors as a summer job while attending college. He also worked with his sister for a short period at a home for senior citizens. She remembers, “Chris wanted to make a difference in this world. He enjoyed assisting those in need and loved the patients, and they returned the feelings. Giving of himself was his nature from early on.”

Chris earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Wayne State University and joined the City of Warren Police Department upon graduation. He sought to obtain the most experience he could receive in his line of work by enlisting for a variety of assignments whenever one became available. After doing time on the beat, he became a member of the first scooter patrol established in the city and spent most of his time in the lower end of the city. In 1998, Chris began working on undercover assignments concerning auto theft, drugs, and prostitution. He served within the Community Policing Unit, the detective bureau, and the Macomb Auto Theft Squad. In 1999, he became a member of the City of Warren’s Police Emergency Response Team (PERT). In September of 2000, he tested for the promotion to sergeant, and ranked the highest of all applicants. Chris received many citations and letters of commendation during his 19-year career. He once provided security during a visit from former President Ronald Reagan. Sergeant Kevin Sommers said, “Chris Wouters was the best of the finest.”

James Kiefer, a former teacher at St. Clement, once asked Chris why he chose a career in law enforcement. Chris replied, “I felt I could raise the level of trust in public servants.”

Chris had an exceptional personality, which made everyone desire his friendship. He had a way of speaking and setting examples, which was understood by his friends and family as a way to approach life. He had a way of getting a person’s respect and attention. He was a great listener and always thought before he spoke. People would open up to him because he made them feel so comfortable. Chris had the ability to walk into a room and make everyone feel special. He always showed genuine interest when sharing a conversation with someone. It has been said that when a person spoke to him, it felt like he was looking into their eyes and down into their soul.

He was a very kind and considerate person in all the relationships in his life. No holiday, civic or religious, passed without Chris insuring that his family and friends shared the day with him. Annually, he would arrange to spend a weekend or two with his friends from school and their wives and families. He particularly enjoyed a BBQ and sharing a glass of fine, red wine with all. The door to Chris’s house was always open to friends and family. His sister, Beth, remembers, “..he encouraged me to become the person I am. He gave me self-confidence by speaking with him or simply being in the same room with him. Dancing with him at my daughter’s wedding was one of my most cherished memories that he and I shared together.”

There was no task that he would not attempt, and whatever chore he took on had a successful end. No job too big, no job too small, Chris would tackle them all. During the spare time his married life afforded him, he remodeled the three homes he purchased and lived in. His favorite place was his home. He was always working to make it even better for his family.

The most important thing to Chris was his family. He dearly loved his wife and children. Chris and his wife, Valerie, met through mutual friends at a graduation party. After dating for five years, they were married in a very intimate ceremony with all of their family and friends surrounding them. They had a very close and loving relationship. They loved to talk to each other and plan their future together. Their relationship was one not seen often between spouses. Chris and Val had total respect for one another from the day they met. He was especially proud when Val received her degree in June of 2000. He spared no words of encouragement and wasn’t reluctant to inform others of his feelings for her. Beth recalls, “You could see the love in each of their eyes with just a simple glance across the room. They were extremely happy.”

Their relationship grew stronger with the birth of their daughters, Taylor and Olivia. Chris and Val’s happiest times were shared with Chris’s son, Evan, and Taylor and Olivia. Chris took great pride in working with his son. They would jog together in the mornings, work out at the gym frequently, and attend various activities together. Chris loved spending time with his wife and three children. They did whatever they could to spend time together. He went beyond what would normally be expected to insure their care and happiness.

Chris also had a strong affection for his parents and displayed such feelings by showing up with a fresh cup of coffee for his mother a couple times a week. He always remembered even the smallest occasion with the most touching cards, which expressed his deep love of family and close friends. Everyone looked forward to his phone call on their birthday, anniversary, other occasion, or at a time of some accomplishment.

Chris was baptized into the Catholic faith two weeks after his birth. He attended a religious school throughout his elementary and high school education. He served the church as an altar boy for many years. Despite some hardships in his first marriage, he retained his deep faith. He had completed the celebration of sacraments of his children, just four days before his unfortunate and inexcusable death.

On Wednesday, October 11, 2000, Detective Sergeant Christopher Wouters was fatally shot while trying to disarm a suspected drug dealer who had sneaked a firearm into the Warren Police Department’s detention area. Chris was 42. “His actions prevented the possibility of other people being injured, ” Chief James Vohs commended. “He moved in and put his life in danger, between others.”

Chris is survived by his wife Valerie; son Evan; daughters Taylor and Olivia; parents Henry and Janice; brothers Hank (Doris), Paul (Lori), and Kenneth (Nancy) Wouters; sisters Beth Wouters, Margaret (Michael) Cyplik, Nancy (Frank) Kapral, and Carole (Larry) Garner; and 22 nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his grandfathers Bernard N. Wouters and Arthur VanAcker; and grandmothers Marion C. (Dole) Wouters and Jessie (Boyd) VanAcker.

Thousands of mourners gathered for Chris’s services. Police officers from Kentucky to Canada came to pay their final respects. City offices and local businesses flew their flags at half-mast. After a 21-gun salute, two police helicopters flew over the cemetery. One helicopter flew a “missing man” maneuver. “Death claimed this prince of a man,” said James Kiefer. “My head, my heart, begs for an explanation.”

Authored by Chris’ father: Henry Wouters This Biography can also be found at www.Legacy.com