COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Colorado Springs Police Department dedicated a hall at its training academy Wednesday morning to a fallen officer.
According to police, Officer Matt Tyner was killed during traffic enforcement on July 24, 2012, near Austin Bluffs Parkway and Silver Drive. Tyner was following a speeding motorcyclist. He was trying to close the gap to read the motorcyclist's license plate when a pickup truck turned into Tyner's motorcycle. Tyner didn't survive the accident.
In 2011, CSPD said Tyner had played a critical role in instructing and coaching the majority of CSPD's sworn personnel.
The Police Department gathered for a ceremony Wednesday morning to commemorate Tyner's work and dedicate Tyner Hall in his memory. Tyner's mother accepted the Medal of Valor and Police Cross awards during the ceremony.
Mayor Steve Bach and Police Chief Peter Carey spoke at the ceremony. Bach described Tyner as a hero who would be remembered forever in the Colorado Springs community. Bach shared a favorite story of Tyner at the ceremony.
"[There is] the story about the day he stopped that woman for a traffic matter," said Bach. "He looked at her driver's license and he recognized it was her birthday. He sang her 'Happy Birthday.'"
Tyner had been with the Colorado Springs Police Department since 1999. He served as a patrol officer, a neighborhood resource officer, and training academy instructor before becoming part of the Specialized Enforcement Division/Motorcycle Unit, according to CSPD.
Tyner served as the Training Academy's lead defense instructor from 2003-2011. CSPD said he provided an unprecedented 1,754 hours of arrest control training. CSPD said he worked to improve the program and give each recruit the best training possible.
His best friend Laura Cochran remembered Tyner's passion for teaching. She described him as a gifted teacher who cared about each of his students. She also remembered Tyner as a great friend.
"He's an awesome guy. But we wish we could still have him. He did so much for us," said Cochran.
Tyner's other best friend, Mike Singels, said he misses Tyner every day. He said he knew Tyner for a long time.
"It's hard. It's never good when you lose a fellow officer, but losing a best friend, it's really hard," said Singels. "I was working that day and I got to the hospital and it's hard. It's just really hard to see that."
Before joining the Colorado Springs Police Department, Tyner worked at the Kansas City Police Department, according to CSPD.