Thursday, March 7, 2013

Memorial to be held for fallen Santa Cruz officers:


Updated at 08:09 AM today


Today thousands of people will give a final salute to the two Santa Cruz officers killed in the line of duty.

A public memorial service will take place at noon for Det. Sgt. Butch Baker and Det. Elizabeth Butler at HP Pavilion in San Jose. The crowd for the service could be as large as 18,000 and thousands of others may line the streets as a motorcade procession makes its way over the hills to San Jose. Police officers and other public safety officials will be visiting from all over the country.

The procession will begin at 8:45 a.m. at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The motorcade is expected to be at least two miles long. Fire trucks will line every single overpass along the route. It will head north on Highway 17, then travel southbound on Highway 85, then north on Highway 87 to HP Pavilion in San Jose. The procession is expected to arrive between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. and guests are expected to arrive between 11 a.m. and noon. The service is estimated to last until 3 p.m. and the families will hold private events after it has concluded.

Some of the dignitaries and celebrities expected to attend include California Governor Jerry Brown, Calif. Attorney General Kamala Harris, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Congressman Sam Farr and former American Idol contestant James Durbin -- who is a Santa Cruz native and will perform at the memorial.

A public viewing took place Wednesday for the officers. Two flag-draped coffins with photographs of the officers were set up at a funeral home. Members of the public got the opportunity to have a quiet moment with the two police heroes, to pray if they wish, and to mingle with others who knew them. The officers were loved and respected in their community.

"To them, it was just another day at the office, but we have to realize what their office was like, in our community. Just heartfelt thanks and such sorrow for their family, and I'm grateful that the community and we're able to show this outpouring of support," said Santa Cruz resident Linda McPherson.

Caltrain is offering free service to the memorial for all members of law enforcement and the city of Santa Cruz is offering free Metro bus vouchers for those with no other way to the service.

A video feed of the service will be available in Santa Cruz at Kaiser Permanente Arena and the Del Mar Theater. A special performance will be given by Santa Cruz native James Durban, who was a finalist on the TV show "American Idol."

A Butch Baker and Elizabeth Butler Scholarship Fund has been established.

Donations can be made through the Santa Cruz city website.



ABC7 News will begin live coverage of the service Wednesday at 11 a.m. both on-air and online. Click here for more information on the day's events.


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