Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Sergeant Gerald James Riley

Detroit Police Department, Michigan

End of Watch Friday, December 8, 1972

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Sergeant Gerald James Riley

My name is Chris Orton, I'm a retired cop in Texas. I grew up in Detroit, my dad was a Detroit Cop with your dad. Actually, I think they were friends. The death of your dad greatly affected me when i was 10 years old in 1972. Actually part of my PTSD. I teach classes on PTSD these days to first responders and I mention your dad in every class I teach. I would greatly appreciate if a family member contacted me so I can let you know how I honor your dad as well as touch base as kids of the 60's and 70's in Detroit. My cell is 512-517-4179.

Thank you!

Christopher Lee Orton
My dad was a Detroit Cop.

February 21, 2020

This popped up on my timeline. Oddly enough as i have read all the posts in the past in still gives me the most heart warming feeling from all the support and kind words that you people have written and taken the time to reflect. As a family that went thru this type of tragedy a LONG TIME ago, it still hurts you to the core to this day. You reflect back on the decisions we make and as i ponder what i would have done, had it been me in that situation it would have been the same outcome. Oddly enough on Detroit police training tape, they are taught to call for backup now and not take action. The world is a different place now with all the violence and cop killings. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree cause I would have given up my life to protect as well.

Till we meet again

william riley

February 5, 2020

Thank you I am NYPD Ret. and a cousin of Sgt Riley, Killed on my sisters birthday. One of those involved in the shooting was reaching the family from inside. When my aunt found the unmarked car, she was once more devastated, he did get out but did nothing. That bank still offers PD consideration. Detroit has not forgotten his sacrifice as I met an instructor in my own academy and he knew of him. I am glad you sought out the help you did and it was successful.

PO McCaffery
NYPD (ret.)

February 5, 2020

47 years later.......Sergeant Riley was killed on December 8th, 1972, just 6 days before my 10th birthday. He was off duty, standing in line at the bank with his two-year-old son trying to cash his D.P.D. paycheck. Guess who else used to stand in line at the bank with his dad waiting to cash his check? Yep, me! My dad was a Detroit cop from 67-80. 37 Detroit Police Officers died in the line of duty from the time I was five years old until I was seventeen years old. I can't tell you how many times I saw my dad put his black mourning band around his upper arm, but I can tell you it was more than once. I can't tell you how many times I saw my dad cry as yet another of his partners died, but I can tell you it was more than once. I can't tell you how many times I saw my mom in her Church dress going to a visitation or funeral, but I can tell you it was more than once. My friend Deputy Keith Ruiz was killed in the line of duty on February 15th, 2001, I was one of the Detectives who worked the crime scene. I collapsed to the ground with emotions at the cemetery when the Dispatcher did Last Call! Austin Police Officer Amy Donovan died in the line of duty on October 31st, 2004. I didn’t know Amy or anyone else that was involved, but I attended her funeral out of respect. I had to take a knee at the cemetery because I was so overcome with emotions. I quit going to Police Officer funerals out of fear of collapsing. In April of 2012 I began EMDR therapy and was able to Reprocess the memories from my time in Detroit, as well as Keith’s death. My friend Deputy Jessica Hollis died in the line of duty on September 18th, 2014. I was part of the CISM team/Peer Support at the scene, I was there from shortly after the incident occurred until they recovered her body. At the cemetery, when the Dispatcher did last call, I shed a couple of “appropriate” tears, no collapsing, no taking a knee. Sergeant Craig Hutchinson took his life (Line Of Duty Death in my opinion) on July 25th, 2016. At the cemetery, when the Dispatcher did last call, I shed a couple of “normal” tears, no collapsing or taking a knee. Why the difference between Keith & Amy’s funerals and Jessica & Craig’s? E.M.D.R. Therapy! In April of 2012, while doing E.M.D.R Therapy, I was able to Reprocess the memories from the Detroit Police Officers who died, as well as Keith’s death. When those traumatic memories were Reprocessed with my E.M.D.R Therapist, a “folder” was created in my brain. I call it “my dead cop folder!” Detroit, Keith, Amy, Jessica, Craig and all other Officers who have died in the Line Of Duty go to that folder now. I Reprocessed those traumatic memories during E.M.D.R. Therapy which caused me to be Desensitized to all the traumatic memories. I still have the memories, but they’re now stored where they’re supposed be stored which has cleared my brain of so much, which in turn has given me great peace. So, I believe that even though Keith & Amy’s deaths were very traumatic for me, I no longer believe they were my “Traumas,” but “Triggers” to what I witnessed in Detroit. If you ever want E.M.D.R. Therapy please reach out to me and I will help you find the right Therapist for you! Sergeant Riley, I will never forget you! I pray for your Children and grandchildren all the time! I’m blessed, I got to leave the bank with my Dad!

Chris Orton, Retired Detective
My dad was a Detroit Cop.

December 7, 2019

Rest in peace Sergeant Riley.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

August 14, 2019

This page is really good to REFLECT on. It sometimes seems like yesterday when my father died. On this day, close to my fathers 85th birthday, there is almost never a day that goes by that I don't think of him.

Life is so precious and I believe that my dad's passing, so violently, has made a better life for others, it has for me.

My dad and especially my mother, gave us children a spark to enjoy our lives as much as we can. Embrace others and simply touch their lives with your spirit and smile. I think I have and I am a much better person for it.

Thank you dad for a life time of fun and happiness(oh sometimes sadness), even though our time together was fleeting...I still remember.

Your Loving Son,


John Riley

October 20, 2018

I remember when Mr. Riley was killed. I went to Christ the King church and school. Laurie Riley was in my grade and her younger brother Jim was in my brother's grade. My brother and I were good friends with Jim and were at the Riley house any number of times. The CK student body all went to Mr. Riley's funeral Mass. It was very sad with many of the girls and others crying. I was 12 and remember it being such a brave thing to do and how it must have affected his toddler son who witnessed it all. Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, we didn't hang out with or see Jim Riley again. It was all such an "out of the ordinary" event I don't think my brother and I knew quite how to handle it. It just kinda changed everything. When a friend loses a loved one in such a tragic manner (which we had never experienced up to that time), it was like we weren't sure how to handle it with our friend. I'm glad to see Laurie and a few of her brothers have posted reflections here. God bless you all!

Childhood friend

May 1, 2018

I worked with Jerry at the 10th precinct. Great guy and wonderful
human being. God rest your soul.

robert marklin retired dpd
10th precinct June 1966 - August 1969

March 1, 2018

Sergeant Gerald James Riley will never be forgotten. Thank you for your service. May God bless his son.

First Sergeant Thomas Webb (Retired)
New York State Police

February 16, 2018

The Loss of Hatch Police Officer Jose Chavez here in New Mexico has, unfortunately, brought to mind the loss of my God-Father, Sergeant Gerald James Riley some 45 years ago. This prompted m my discovery of this wonderful and appropriately respectful sight. I was only 9 years old when "Uncle Jerry" lost his life while trying to stop a bank robbery. I remember when I was very young imagining this father of one of my closest childhood friends as a kind of super-hero who went about his daily business of fighting crime in the great city of Detroit. I wasn't wrong. This wonderful man was and is a hero that I will continue, throughout my life, to strive to be worthy of calling myself his God-Child. Rest in Peace, Jerry and your devoted wife Barbara. Love, Always and forever. And to your children, especially John with whom I have many happier childhood memories, God Bless and keep you all well.

Mark Prince

May 21, 2017

I still remember the last time I saw Uncle Jerry at the summer reunion in Long Island at the beach. He was throwing up so high up in the air and we were dropping into the water. It was a sad day when our parents sat us down and told us he was gone and that they were going to Michigan. Thinking of all my cousins today

Agnes McCaffery

December 9, 2016



July 26, 2015

Thank You Diane for your caring words and all that have left a reflection. My Father was Brave and sooo Loving. We just attended The MICOPS Annual banquet. I bring my children and their children so they know Cops are good, loving, protective, BRAVE and more... It has been a very long time now that he is gone yet my brothers and I do still grieve like it was yesterday. That kind of trauma does not ever heal. We have all used it for good in the end staying open and caring and as our parents taught us LOVING! PTSD plays a role in each of our lives. Having been drawn to this site again to read about the impact one person can have on many I find myself sobbing, tears of sadness and joy knowing his blood runs in many and my Daughter gave her son his name so he too can make a difference with a smile, a laugh a kind hand. I wish all the peace that does come after finding some resolutions within. I continue to tell those that are struggling that they can make it. In closing I will say I Love & Miss You Dad. I hope you & Mom are together there in that place where good loving souls go.

Laurie Riley

December 9, 2014

My father was on the STRESS squad. I remember this tragic event. God bless his family.

Diane Stanley Smith

October 22, 2014

for the familY; this story brought tears to my eyes-life is not fair!. My father's partner was murdered on duty in 1963-Stanley Sech, Pct 11. He was devastated.
I just learned one can buy a badge pendant at Muccioli Gallery on Beubien with officer's badge number on it

Diana Cricks, daughter of retired patrolman John Coy, DPD

October 9, 2013



July 14, 2013

Rest in peace, officer. You are a hero and a warrior.

aux. officer

March 17, 2013

Well Dad, here it is December 8th 2012, forty years since you gave your all in the name of Law and Order. It is unbelievable the wounds run so deep but in that grief over the years it has shaped seven really great people, my Mother, five brothers and myself. I feel blessed to be YOUR Daughter and what you have left behind is an opportunity to be the most loving, understanding, helpful person I can be... I Thank You for being My Hero and giving me 5 absolutely GREAT Brothers whom I can lean on in my time of weakness or need. And Thank You Mom for keeping us together and showing us that Love really does work better then Hate and Anger!! I miss you Dad still... after forty years, and inside is still your little girl who adores you and treasures the time we did have and always will. I Love You and Thank You & Mom for all you still give too me. I brought my Loved Ones to the MICOPS gathering last week in order to celebrate and pass on the Pride and Values that your life represents. I will continue to give what I can to those that need as that is what I have chosen to do with My grief; Give, Give, and Give even to the Hardened, Hurt and Angry people in the world.

Love Your Daughter, Laurie

December 8, 2012

On behalf of the Riley Family, I thank you Chris Orton and all who have shared reflections over the years. 40 years ago this month I gained a hero and lost a Father. My life was forever changed. My family and myself have never lost our pride.

A greater gift hath no man.....

Michael T Riley


December 5, 2012

My name is Chris Orton, I've been a Deputy/Detective with the Travis County Sheriff's Office, Austin, Texas for the last 25 years. I grew up in Detroit where my dad, Bill Orton was a Police Officer from 1967-1980. When I read about T.M.U. and the S.T.R.E.S.S. Unit I smiled! I was ten years old when Officer Riley was murdered in front of his son. I remember how it crushed my dad! I remember going to the Michigan National Bank with my dad in the early 70's to cash his check. My dad told me way back when that we actually went to the Riley home and hung out as families before Officer Riley was murdered. I remember going to lots of other Officer's homes in the early 70's, where the moms chatted, dads shot the breeze, had a beer or two and us kids played! Good memories! In 2001 one of my partners was killed in the line of duty. I was devastated and eventually diagnosed with PTSD. One officer killed in my 25 years. In Detroit, 24 Officers were killed between 67 and 72 and another 12 between 73 and 76. I can't imagine losing 36 comrades in 10 years. How did the Officer's deal with it? How many developed PTSD? How many became alcoholics? How many committed suicide? I can't imagine the pain! While going through therapy recently, trying to work on the pain of my partners murder back in 2001, I learned something....buried deep inside of me was the vision of my dad wearing the Black Arm Band and never seeming to take it off. I remember his eyes! I know those eyes! The eyes of depression and PTSD! I've seen them in the mirror! The therapist asked me what I was thinking as I remembered my dads eyes and the arm band and it finally became clear...Back in the early 70's I wondered when was my dad going to get killed! I had no idea I'd been carrying this all these years! I'm so proud of my dad and know I'm truly blessed to still have him in my life! May God Bless each of the Riley's, I will never know your sadness, pain and loss! I consider my dad a hero for his service! Your dad is a HERO, for his service and sacrifice! He served when on duty as well as off duty and for that, the citizens of Detroit owe him a big ol thank you!!!! God Bless!

Det. Chris Orton
Travis County Sheriff's Office

October 5, 2012

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 39th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

I pray for solace for all those who love and miss you for I know both the pain and pride are forever.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya
mother of fallen officer Larry Lasater, PPD, eow 4/24/05

December 8, 2011

I was in college at the time of the incident and not really interested in LE, but totally touched by this bravery of this fine officer.

I later became an ATF Agent, and have always thought of the supreme sacrifice of Sgt Riley.

I hope his family has done well.

Randall R. Evans
ATF/Livingston County SD (retired)

December 8, 2011

I always remember the support the police dept and the City and Michigan National Bank gave us over the years. My family just recently attended a banquet for MI Cops Fallen Officers it never gets easy. It nice to see the support from the other officers. Not only was my dad a hero but my Mom who dedicated her life to her six children at the most crucial time in her life is amazing

Bill Riley

December 8, 2011

Sadly I was checking on a friend's page here, and flashed back to this officer's name from my youth. Yes, I actually remember him from my father's DP service with STRESS, as one of my dad's lost friends. The sadness I still remember that my father had over his death. It hit my dad pretty hard back then. Now, with him also gone, I'm sure there is a small group of old STRESS/and department guys swapping stories in a "better place".
I do hope the family has held on to their good memories and made it through today.


January 25, 2010

You are remembered today and thank you Sir for your service

Pat Van Den Berghe, Manchester, NH
Neighbors for a Better Manchester, NH

December 5, 2007

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