Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Oct 24th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Lives on the Line

news3As memorials roll out for fallen SCPD officers, law enforcement are reminded of the daily risk of their jobs

The loss of two Santa Cruz police officers last week—a first in the department's 150-year history—has left the community feeling broken and the police department reeling. But local law enforcement says the fact that their lives are on the line is something they live with everyday.

“When you get this news, it's shocking and upsetting, and when you get in this line of work you know it's a possibility,” says Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Deputy April Skalland.

Following the murders of Detective Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler by gunman Jeremy Goulet on Tuesday, Feb. 26, the County Sheriff's Office and the Santa Cruz California Highway Patrol took over the SCPD's patrol for two days, giving them the opportunity to grieve and make arrangements for the fallen officers' families. Covering for the department, which is emergency protocol, reflects the familial nature between law enforcement departments, says Skalland.

“It doesn't matter if you wear blue, or green and tan,” she says, referring to the colors of the Sheriff's Office and the SCPD's uniforms. “It's a huge family. We stepped in because that's the right thing to do. That's just the bond you have in the law enforcement community.”

When any department loses an officer, Skalland says all law enforcement agencies share the loss together. She references the recent rampage that former Los Angeles Police Department officer Christopher Dorner went on in Southern California that targeted police officers.

news3-3“We all lived that,” Skalland says.

On Friday, March 1, at 7 a.m., when the SCPD resumed their duties policing the city, Sheriff's Office personnel were outside unexpectedly waiting for Santa Cruz police officers, at attention, saluting—a symbol of their solidarity, respect and honor for the lost officers. 

The deaths of Butler and Baker is a reminder that a job in law enforcement can be unpredictable and even deadly, but Skalland says that knowledge is something that never entirely leaves any officers' mind.

“Going into law enforcement is a lifestyle,” she says. “And it's something that other people won't entirely understand unless they share it. I think officers think about it every single day. You're always watching your back, seeing what's going on, even when you're off duty. It's the way you live your life.”

Attending fellow officers' funerals is a chilling reminder of this reality, and something Skalland says she's done, sadly, many times. She, along with people from all other law enforcement agencies in the county and many from across the state, will be present at Baker and Butler's memorial, which takes place today, Thursday, March 1 at noon at HP Pavilion in San Jose.

“You go because they would do the same thing if it was you or your family,” she says. “It's that brother and sisterhood.”

However, due to the large number of members from the law enforcement community expected to attend, the memorial for Butler and Baker was moved from Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz to HP Pavilion in San Jose. This has been a source of contention for some community members who won't be able to make it over the hill, and for those who feel it should be a local service.

More than 5,000 law enforcement agents and firefighters from all over the state are expected to attend, and it was very important to the families of the fallen officers that everyone be able to gather together under the same roof, says Mayor Hilary Bryant. That ruled out any local facility. “It was extremely important that we honor the families' wishes,” she says.

Dividing attendees up in different venues, as was previously planned, would require a lot of coordination and would stray from the original purpose, says Scott Collins, assistant to the city manager. There will still be gatherings in multiple venues, however: those who cannot make it to San Jose will be able to view a telecast of the services at Kaiser Permanente Arena and the Del Mar Theater starting at 11 a.m. Collins tells GT that METRO bus vouchers are available for people who lack transportation to San Jose. 

Collins says the city understands that it created some inconveniences for the community, but he believes many will be able to make the 38-mile trip from Santa Cruz to the HP Pavilion. He notes that the number of miles—38—is also the total number of years that Baker and Butler served with the SCPD.

He believes there is potential for a second, local ceremony to help the community grapple with the tragedy, though there were no plans set in stone as of press time.

Bryant says she understands the frustration about the out-of-town memorial, but interprets it as a sign of the community's unity with and compassion for the SCPD, which resonates positively with her.

“It comes from a good place,” she says “Everyone wants to grieve together.” 


At the request of Santa Cruz's congressman, Sam Farr, the United States House of Representatives held a moment of silence in honor of Detective Sgt. Loran 'Butch' Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler on Wednesday, March 6.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Santa Cruz Restaurant Week

A huge part of Santa Cruz Restaurant Week has always been about offering a great dining experience for an affordable price. For some locals, the $25 flat-rate cost has provided the opportunity (or the excuse!) to try new spots, and indulge in Santa Cruz fine dining in a way they might have thought too pricey before.

 

Scorpio Sun, New Moon Eclipse, Mercury Direct

The Sun enters Scorpio’s mysteries Thursday under a new moon and partial solar eclipse (something essential has come to an end, its purpose completed). In Scorpio we harbor secrets, are devoted to something deep, dark and hidden. Sometimes it’s ourselves. We can bring great suspect to our assessment of others. Scorpio is the scorpion, the serpent and the eagle—three levels of development. As the serpent we take shelter in our beliefs. Sometimes we bite (or sting). The eagle vanquishes old beliefs through its sharp intellect, soaring high in the air, seeking to understand through perspective. Understanding releases us from the bondage of fear. The eagle is like the mother soothing feelings of mistrust, offering protection. Knowledge does this, too.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Light Humor

College comedy questions a post-racial America in ‘Dear White People’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Back Porch

Austin Kaye on backyard dinners and why it’s his favorite time of year to be a chef

 

What’s the most outrageous situation you ever saw at a restaurant?

Damani Thomas, Santa Cruz, Chef/Owner

 

Wine Lust

The Spanish Godello grape, plus arancinis, tender butter lettuce and pork schnitzel at Soif

 

What artist or artists participating in the encore weekend of Open Studios should not be missed?

Santa Cruz | Teacher