West Bloomfield Police Chief Michael Patton said during a recent candlelight vigil honoring slain Officer Patrick O'Rourke that the department's relationship with the victim's family is a "lifetime commitment."
A group of Metro area residents want to make it easier to offer the gift of a lifetime.
A trust fund established by township officials to aid O'Rourke's family has been connected to a website, westbloomfieldhero.com, for those concerned to donate using only a credit or debit card.
O'Rourke, 39, of Fenton, was killed Sept. 9 in the line of duty by a man barricaded in his home at the North Woods Forest subdivision near the intersection of Halsted and Pontiac Trail. O'Rourke left behind a family of three elementary school-age daughters and one infant son, and his widow, Amy.
The website also offers space for tributes and reflections connected to Facebook, where dozens of grievers left behind messages of support for O'Rourke's family family.
"The West Bloomfield Police Department is always there for us," said Levi Shemtov, founder of the nonprofit organization Friendship Circle, who helped coordinate the project. "I called my friend Jeff Sakwa to ask that apart from my condolences, if there was anything I can do, and we got to work rather quickly."
Sakwa, a local businessman, continued: "I know people have heavy hearts and don't want their family to have to deal with anything, especially financially. We coordinated our effort with the West Bloomfield Police Foundation organization to put this together.
"He truly was the most well-liked police officer there," Sakwa said. "That’s the story I get from all those guys."
Residents can also donate to any branch of Bank of America to the "Officer Patrick O’Rourke Family Trust," according to Township Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste.
A candlelight vigil in O'Rourke's honor on Sept. 11 attracted approximately 1,500 to police department headquarters to hear from local clergy. O'Rourke's death is believed to be the first in the line of duty in the department's history.