REPORTS

Outpouring of Support for Fallen Officers’ Families, Force and Community

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By J.D. Hillard | KUSP News
The memorial for Butch Baker and Elizabeth Butler, Santa Cruz police officers killed in the line of duty, was attended by the governor and included euglogies from the Attorney General and former defense secretary Leon Panetta.

Loma Prieta volunteer firefighters salute as the funeral motorcades passes on Highway 17. Photo: Richard Masoner/Cyclelicious/flickr

Loma Prieta volunteer firefighters salute as the funeral motorcades passes on Highway 17. Photo: Richard Masoner/Cyclelicious/flickr

At the HP Pavilion in San Jose, in a ceremony that ranged through gravitas, laughter and tears, Santa Cruz and the State of California memorialized Detective Elizabeth Butler and Detective Sergeant Loran “Butch ” Baker today San Jose.

The event continued for hours and included memorials from family members and speeches from luminaries of government. Santa Cruz Chief of Police Kevin Vogel spoke fist describing Baker, who was a 28-year veteran of the force as a tenacious investigator always ready with a joke. Vogel has described Elizabeth Butler, who’d been an officer for 10 years, as a caring person with a drive for justice. He said it was an ideal skill set for a police officer.

Vogel painted a picture of two officers dedicated to righting wrongs and their community. He stressed that Jeremy Goulet, who killed Baker and Butler last week before dying himself in a shootout with police, would have gained fair treatment from them.

Leon Panetta, former congressman for the Monterey Bay area and until this year, secretary of defense, compared the detectives to soldiers who died defending the nation. He said he had seen a pattern in the military. Often among veterans of combat. Soldiers who needed counseling and didn’t seek or receive it and were not arrested when they committed crimes. Friends and superiors would turn their heads, he said. Panetta argued Butler and Baker, were the counter example, by investigating a charge of sexual assault they were taking a step to protect the public from violence.

Until his recent election Santa Cruz county Supervisor Zach Friend was a crime analyst for the Santa Cruz Police Department. He acknowledged the distress the detective’s killing had caused in the department and the community. He noted the outpouring to sympathy and support the department had seen and compared the event to a natural disaster. The killing was an “emotional earthquake,” he said.

Attendees at the Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz watched the ceremony on a large video screen. Jon Bombaci, a fellow Santa Cruz City employee, said he’d appreciated the professionalism he’d seen in Baker. Tia Moon said she’d come to show support and respect for the dead officers. As soon as she’d heard about the shootin she’d called her children to make sure they were safe, she said. Moon’s sentiment is pretty common in Santa Cruz, and beyond. With the nationwide attention the killing has gained it seems it’s close to home for a lot of people.

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