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Remembering The Fallen: Friends Recall Michael Krol As A Big Guy With A Big Heart

Christopher Connelly/KERA News
Ofc. Michael Krol was remembered at a service at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano on Friday. He was 40 years old.

Texas has sent off another of its officers killed in the line of duty last week. The funeral for Dallas Police Officer Michael Krol on Friday was the fourth of five. The Michigan native known as a big guy with a big heart.

This final, ceremonial radio call rang out at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano as hundreds of law enforcement officers from around the country looked on: “Police officer Michael Krol, badge 9217, is out of service. End of watch, July 7, 2016. God speed Michael."

Krol spent nearly ten years on the Dallas police force. He was well-liked, and is being remembered as a loyal friend

“I always knew that if I needed someone to be there, he would come,” said his friend Ofc. Andrew Gregorich at a vigil earlier this week.

Gregorich recalled hanging out with his friend in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square, eating and playing pool. Reata was Krol’s favorite restaurant.

“Everytime I drive to Fort Worth, I will think of the fifteen minute walk we made. I will not forget it. I will look over, and I can still see us walking,”Gregorich said.

The 40-year-old Krol was big but athletic. A basketball player in high school, he was playfully competitive with friends at the gym.

Krol was born in Michigan and grew up between there and Massachusetts. He returned to the Detroit area after high school to get a degree in criminal justice, and went to work as a corrections officer at Wayne County Jail. He moved to Dallas in 2007 to follow his dream of being a police officer.

President Obama, at a memorial service in Dallas, reflected on Krol’s journey.

“His mother said he knew the dangers of the job but he never shied away from his duty. He came a thousand miles from his home state of Michigan, telling his family ‘This is something I wanted to do,’” Obama said.

“That was his lifelong dream,” Krol’s uncle, Jim Ehlke, told the Detroit TV station WDIV.

Ehlke said his nephew was driven to help people. Krol’s biggest frustration was not being able to make everything right, his uncle says. When he was off duty, Krol helped family, friends and neighbors any way he could.

“Just committed to helping out the community, just helping out, fixing people’s houses, he committed his extra time where he could. He just was all positive. He was just a big guy, big heart,” Ehlke said.

In a note about Krol in the funeral program, his family writes: “Our family will never be the same. Mike was our rock.”

Officer Michael Krol is being returned to Michigan, to be buried close to them.

Christopher Connelly is a reporter covering issues related to financial instability and poverty for KERA’s One Crisis Away series. In 2015, he joined KERA to report on Fort Worth and Tarrant County. From Fort Worth, he also focused on politics and criminal justice stories.