Police Officer Byron B. Soule, Jr.

Police Officer Byron B. Soule, Jr.

Detroit Police Department, Michigan

End of Watch Friday, June 28, 1974

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Byron B. Soule, Jr.

Officer Soule and Officer Jon Ryckman were killed when their police aircraft collided with another aircraft over the Detroit River.

Officer Byron Soule Jr.and Officer Jon Ryckman were members of the Detroit Police Department’s aviation unit; Officer Ryckman as a pilot and Officer Soule, Jr., as an observer. Both officers had been working together for about a year and were primarily assigned to the airspace over Detroit’s eastside neighborhoods.

Around 12:45 a.m. on Friday, June 28, 1974, they were patrolling the east side and began heading towards Belle Island, a municipal park that sits on the Detroit River along the border with Windsor, in Canada. As they approached airspace on the river, a D-18 Beechcraft began to have engine problems and descended into an emergency landing. As the owner and pilot of the aircraft did this, he struck the officers' helicopter hard but continued his descent and crash landed at the Detroit City Airport.

Officers Ryckman and Soule, Jr. plunged straight into the river, dying either in the air or upon impact. The Detroit Police Department hastily organized a rescue effort and were able to find Officer Ryckman, a three-year veteran of DPD, soon after by dredging the river. It took through the morning to locate Officer Soule, Jr. The officers were the first fatalities of the department's aviation unit.

Officer Soule, Jr. was a nine-year veteran of the force. He is survived by his wife and two children.


  • Age 31
  • Tour 9 years
  • Badge 3571

Incident Details

  • Cause Aircraft accident

helicopter crash

Most Recent Reflection

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Thank you for your service and please know that your sacrifice is one that will never, ever be forgotten. Rest in peace always.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

June 28, 2020

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