Michelle Winkis, 42, captain's aide in the 26th police district.

Winkis
Winkis
Posted: September 13, 2013

MICHELLE WINKIS was basically a street cop.

She might have been an aide to the captain who ran her police district, but it was far from an administrative post.

"I don't sit around," said Capt. Mike Cram, commander of the 26th District at Girard and Montgomery avenues. "I'm a street cop, and she was my right hand. She had a great set of eyes. She knew how to spot trouble, and she knew how to talk to people.

"She had every skill you would want in a street cop."

The department was stunned when Michelle, a 23-year veteran of the force, an officer who was involved in numerous community activities and possessed unstoppable energy, collapsed at the police station last Monday and died Saturday of a brain aneurysm. She was 42 and lived in Mayfair.

"She had so much respect in the department," Cram said. "If anybody needed anything, she was there."

The respect extended to the street, where she and Cram became a team, not only fighting crime in Kensington, Fishtown and Frankford, but also helping people in distress, children in need. If it meant getting a drug addict to rehab, calming the desperate, soothing community disputes, Michelle was right there.

"The way she walked down the street, she got respect," Cram said. "She knew how to talk to people. She knew how to deal with people who needed her help."

Michelle worked the streets as a patrol officer before becoming Cram's aide four years ago. She coordinated operations and projects within the district, as well as accompanying Cram on patrol.

She was also heavily involved in various charities, including helping with survivors' benefits, the Blue Flames Police and Fire Football Club, and others.

"If a fundraiser needed to be set up, Michelle was there," Cram said.

A longtime friend, Officer Amy Fagan, told NBC10 that one word summed up Michelle's character - "selfless."

"She would tell you how she felt, if she had a problem," Fagan said. "Then if something happened to you an hour later, you needed someone, she'd be the first one there. It's like losing my sister. Not only a sister in blue, but also my sister."

"She loved her family," Cram said. "She had a very tight family. She was a great mother."

"She loved all kids," said another fellow officer, Lisa Baker.

The former Michelle Soltys, she is survived by three daughters, Taylor, 19, Carlee, 14, and Alex, 12; her parents, Joseph and Mary Negler; three brothers, Michael and Mark Soltys and Joseph Negler III; a sister, Diane McElwee; her grandparents, Joseph and Mary Laska; and her former husband, Tom Winkis.

Services: Funeral Mass 11 a.m. today at Church of St. Anne, 2832 Lehigh Ave.

Fellow officers will hold a fundraiser for her children starting at 6 this evening at Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 along the 11600 block of Caroline Road.

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