Top, Honor Guards stand alongside the casket of Taylor auxiliary police Lt. Dan Kromer on the stage inside the Heinz C. Prechter Educational and Performing Arts Center at Wayne County Community College District’s Downriver Campus at Thursday’s memorial ceremony. Above, officers carry Kromer’s casket through the rear of the center toward the stage, allowing the procession of mourners following them to pay their final respects.
Hundreds honor fallen auxiliary police officer
By TOM TIGANI
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR — Auxiliary police Lt. Dan Kromer was remembered Thursday by colleagues and public safety officers from Michigan and Ohio in a ceremony at the Wayne County Community College District Downriver Campus.
A crowd of hundreds gathered in the Heinz C. Prechter Educational and Performing Arts Center to honor Kromer, who was killed Sept. 7 after being struck by a car on I-94 while helping a couple who was lost. They filed past his casket, which was onstage in the auditorium and draped with the American flag while Honor Guards stood on either side.
Joe Palumbo, Kromer’s best friend, said the words “honor,” “integrity” and “service,” which were mentioned just seven weeks before at the funeral of Cpl. Matthew Edwards, who also was killed on the job, applied to Kromer as well.
Palumbo said Kromer wasn’t scheduled to work the night he was killed, and was due to work at his day job the next day, but went out because the Police Department needed the help due a power outage in the city.
“If there was a need, he couldn’t say no,” Palumbo said.
Kromer always gave “110 percent or better,” his friend said, saying that not only did he qualify at the gun range, he went on to become rangemaster — and “an awesome trainer” who instructed colleagues with great humility. Not only did Kromer receive a Red Cross certification, he studied to become a first aid trainer, Palumbo said. And in addition to qualifying as a security guard, Kromer also became a certified instructor.
Palumbo said Kromer studied all aspects of his passion and worked to pass along his knowledge.
“Because of his training and experience, he was always giving suggestions on how to give yourself an edge and shave off a fraction of a second from your response time — the fraction of a second that could save your life,” Palumbo said. “He did this often. Sometimes I wondered where he got this stuff from.”
Good with numbers and possessed of a signature sense of humor, Kromer liked to use his finger to press his hand while pretending to hold a calculator to work out math problems, complete with sound effects.
Invoking several Bible passages, Palumbo said, “Dan was appointed to stand between evil and good to defend those who could not defend themselves.” Palumbo urged fellow public safety officers to protect themselves physically while they do the same, with one additional piece of advice.
“If you’re going to live your lives on the edge, you should stay near God,” he said.
Martenson Family of Funeral Homes Chaplain Fred Cislo, who began the ceremony, recalled how Kromer enjoyed riding his Honda Gold Wing motorcycle with his wife, Joyce, and often could be found near a lake or river with a $5 pizza, watching freighters pass and remembering times gone by or fishing for “fishes,” as Kromer called them.
Police Chief Dale Tamsen said Kromer would be missed, calling him a respected officer who volunteered countless hours over his career and did what it took to excel. The chief thanked other auxiliary police officers for giving their time and enabling the city’s paid officers to serve and protect the community.
“We pledge our comfort and support during these difficult times,” Tamsen said to Kromer’s family, who he said has given the ultimate sacrifice. “We will walk hand in hand with you and be at your side to guide you.”
Auxiliary Police Chief Ronald Vaughn said Kromer was “everything we could wish for in an officer: conscientious, hardworking and most importantly, giving.”
“It is said that no one is more cherished in the world than someone who lightens the burden of another,” Vaughn said. “That’s exactly what our auxiliary officers, and Dan, (do and) did every day.”
Kromer would have been surprised by the impact he had made, Vaughn said, but that the crowd gathered to say farewell was proof of his success.
Kromer in 1991 was named officer of the month after pouring water on the face of a man who had been burned when his car battery exploded, spraying him with acid. Vaughn said Kromer’s quick action saved the man from major surgery. That same year, Kromer was chosen officer of the year.
Police have arrested and charged Nino Edward Delpiano, 40, of Dearborn, in the hit-and-run accident that killed Kromer, the second officer in the department’s history to die in the line of duty. Edwards was shot July 23 while investigating a suspected burglary at an apartment complex.