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Pressing for a Monument to Lives Lost in the Line of Duty

Laguna’s police force escorting the casket of Jon Coutchie at a memorial service last Friday, Sept. 27.

Laguna’s police force escorting the casket of Jon Coutchie at a memorial service last Friday, Sept. 27.

A new memorial should be erected near Laguna Beach’s existing Sept. 11 and veterans memorials in remembrance of three public-safety employees who died in the line of duty, the police association president urged the City Council on Tuesday.

Larry Bammer’s plea came days after fellow police officer Jon Coutchie’s body was buried in Tucson, Ariz., and eulogized by state Attorney General Kamala Harris as well as friends and colleagues at a service last week in Irvine attended by hundreds of law enforcement officials.

Coutchie, 41, was killed in a traffic collision on Sept. 21 while attempting to find a reckless driver. Sixty years earlier, Laguna officer Gordon French, 48, was shot and killed after being taken hostage by his prisoner, Bammer said. And last year, Laguna fire Capt. Steen Jensen succumbed to cancer from exposure to a career fighting fires locally and elsewhere.

“We ask you this evening to move forward on a Laguna Beach Public Safety Memorial at Heisler Park,” said Bammer, halting to suppress his own tears while appealing for a place of remembrance for a trio of brave men who proudly served the town.

Whether city officials will take up Bammer’s proposal remains to be seen. The next step would be for someone to establish a memorial fund as well as placing the matter on a City Council agenda for action, City Manager John Pietig said.

In the meantime, the department already took steps to keep Coutchie’s memory alive, adding a dark sticker to the bumper of patrol cars and department badges, both lettered in white with “M-13,” the marking of his motorcycle.

 

 

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