Monterey Sheriff's Office May Assist With Funeral for Slain Santa Cruz Officers
March 1, 2013
The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office could be providing some law enforcement coverage in Santa Cruz next week as the mourning city lays two slain officers to rest.
Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller says that the local sheriff’s office is making plans to help during the funeral procession for detectives Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker and Elizabeth Butler, killed Tuesday in a Santa Cruz shooting.
Though details for assistance are still being finalized, a number of the local sheriff’s personnel will be attending the 17-mile long procession March. 7, Miller says.
The police officers’ deaths, a blow to the small town, made national news. A headline for a story by The Associated Press read: “Slain Santa Cruz police officers were taken by surprise.”
“There no such thing as a routine event in the life of a law enforcement officer,” Miller says. “There’s no routine traffic stop, there’s no routine interview, there’s no routine dispatched call. Everything we do is fraught with this type of deadly potential.”
One thing that can help in any situation is information. Santa Cruz police are just now learning about the suspect Jeremey Goulet’s many arrests for sex-related crimes, according to the AP.
Miller says the local sheriff’s office is in the process of implementing a new records management system that would allow officers to quickly access crime reports from other law enforcement agencies in the county.
Almost every city in the county already uses the system, which makes the latest suspect information available to everyone on the network. Salinas Police Department doesn’t use the system, and the Monterey Police Department and the Monterey County Sheriff’s office just got approval to implement it.
Even with these new tools, though, in some cases it’s difficult to avoid tragedy, Miller says.
“You don’t always have the luxury of being able to determine the complete criminal history of someone who you are about to contact,” Miller says. That’s especially true with suspects who tend to move around.
“If someone wants to lie in wait and ambush you there’s little you can do,” the sheriff says. “If someone has that kind of intent its a tough situation from the start.”
Baker and Butler had gone to the suspect’s house at 3pm Feb. 26 to question him about a misdemeanor sexual assault accusation, according to the AP.
The officers had been shouting at Goulet through his closed front door, trying to get his side of the story, the AP says. Goulet, 35, burst out of another door and opened fire with a .45-caliber handgun legally registered to him.
After shooting the detectives, Goulet stole their guns and attempted to escape in Baker’s car, according to the AP. The neighborhood was surrounded by law enforcement, so he left the car and tried to return to his house. When he was spotted by police he opened fire, and was killed in the shootout.
Police recovered both officers’ guns, Baker’s bulletproof vest, a passport, and a plane ticket to New Mexico, the AP says.
Scott Collins, assistant to Santa Cruz’s city manager, says a fund opened to support the police officers’ families has received an enormous response.
“It’s a shock to the community, it’s a shock to the police department and to the city employees who loved these officers,” he says “It’s a tremendous loss to our small police department who are our family.”