Here are the texts from Santa Cruz Police speeches at Thursday's memorial for Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler.
Remarks of Chief Kevin Vogel
March 7, 2013
I want to start by thanking the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office and the California Highway Patrol for standing in when we needed help the most.
They too are feeling this pain and stepped up to protect our community, allowing all of us the chance to grieve.
I also want to acknowledge the officers who ended that tragic day by bringing Elizabeth’s and Butch’s killer to justice.
This is not something we have ever dealt with before in our Department and for all of us, the pain is still too fresh. We are left to ask: will the pain ever end? How do we fill the holes in our hearts, how do we take our next step?
But through this we’ve learned that the answers come from those around us. All of you here today are showing our officers and our city what it means to be a community.
We have seen, once again, how tight our community truly is, how many big hearts there are in our midst today and how much good exists all around us.
We thank you for the flowers you have left, the candles you have lit and the love you have given all of us during this last, most painful week.
You have reminded us why we serve and protect our community each and every day.
Thank you for that, Santa Cruz.
Police work is not an easy job – too often we are the thin blue line between good and evil. Too often we are called upon to make tough choices while remembering our training and what drives us as officers of the law. Too often, friends and family are burdened with sleepless nights and the fear of facing a day like today.
Police work, however, is not just a job, it is a calling.
For many of us the dream of being an officer started when we were kids. Some, like Elizabeth and Butch, are drawn to serve their community – for some, police work is just the right fit.
We gather today to honor the lives of two such officers. Two heroes, two friends, taken from us far too soon at the hands of a madman. Someone sick and unstable, and yet someone who would have gotten a fair shake from Elizabeth and Butch had he just given them the chance.
We come together today to pay tribute to two people who exemplified service, who embodied the notion that the true measure of our department is the impact we leave for those who come after us.
We gather for them and we gather to heal.
We gather to remember a mother, a partner, an inspiration to all of us.
We gather to remember a father, a husband, a mentor, a friend.
There are no words that can heal us, no quick fixes for this pain nor are there sayings that can ease our grief.
Nothing that can bring back the passion, the laughter or the light of those we have lost.
Nothing can replace what was taken from us.
But as we have all slowly come to realize over these last several days, out of the darkness of our pain, some light comes from the memories of Elizabeth and Butch.
Remembering who they were will help us get through this together. Remembering what made each of them so special will help us heal. Remembering why we admired them, why we loved them and why we were proud to serve next to them will make sure that they never leave our hearts.
To Peter, Joaquin and Stellan: Elizabeth was so special and I am so proud to have known her and worked alongside her.
It is so rare to find someone with who has both unending compassion and an unyielding thirst for justice. In Elizabeth, those traits and her skills made her an exceptional police officer but an even better friend.
Her tireless efforts on behalf of those who were victims of crimes, underprivileged, or simply in need of an advocate leaves a hole in our community that we can never fully replace.
To Elizabeth, everyone was good at their core. Everyone deserved a chance and a voice. Her empathy was matched only by her skill as a police officer.
She made the victims of even the most heinous acts feel cared for while giving them the knowledge – and peace of mind – that their justice would be done.
She loved the Santa Cruz community and that showed with every case, every challenge and everything that she did. That’s why she was so passionate about her work, about the people she served and her fellow police officers.
That was just the kind of officer she was. She believed we, as police, have to work hand-in-hand with our fellow citizens. That we must work to solve problems together, that all of us in our community have a role to play in making it the kind of place we deserve – a place all of us can enjoy safely.
Elizabeth just wanted to make Santa Cruz safe for families like hers any way she could.
She wanted a place where families can go to the beach, walk our boardwalk, ride roller coasters, hike, cook or get some of those delicious morning buns at Kelly’s Bakery.
In remembering Elizabeth, we must remember how she would right the wrongs that we face today. We must remember that passion and collaboration can, and must, exist side-by-side. She leaves unfinished work in our hands and we must meet this moment, together.
We will miss her so much. Peter, Joaquin and Stellan, we thank you for sharing her with us.
To Kelly, Adam, Jillian and Ashley: I don’t know if Butch is the first guy to wear shorts in heaven but I do know he’s making the angels laugh as he watches over all of us today.
Butch was the most giving, the most generous and the kindest person I’ve had the honor of serving alongside.
He taught me more things than I can count – and I know that I’m not the only one here who can say that.
He taught me to be the leader I am and showed me how to enjoy my work even more.
Butch did everything with every ounce of who he was. I am going to miss his laughter in the halls of the station and all of us are going to miss his counsel and his passion for the job.
He loved his work, he wanted the truth and he stopped at nothing to get it. Butch left his mark on countless cases and was always there for a younger officer – or an older one.
He’s who I turned to when things got hard. Relentless in the pursuit of the truth, he served Santa Cruz honorably and with a smile.
When his son Adam joined the force, he said he got glimpses of himself when he first started out and got inspired anew. Not many people, after almost three decades on the force, could find new excitement for their work, but Butch did.
In the wake of this tragedy, all of us have a responsibility to Butch to look at life the way he did and find new sources of inspiration for the work we do.
He was a part of the very fabric of the Santa Cruz community, immediately recognizable and leaving behind an indelible imprint on everything he touched. He founded our DUI enforcement team, and mentored and trained our officers.
Butch was a tenacious investigator and an even more tenacious friend.
It won’t be easy for us to meet the standard he set for himself, or for any of us, but it is enough for me to know that he believed in me and in everyone here. He believed in the best of us and gave our city his best every time he put on the uniform.
Kelly, Adam, Jillian and Ashley: We will miss Butch so much. We’ll miss his laughter and his tireless service. We’ll think of him when we watch the Giants, when someone plays a prank and whenever anyone refuses to give up in pursuit of the truth.
We mourn a sister and a brother today, two members of our Santa Cruz Police Department family, two exemplars of service. We mourn together as a community and as police officers.
Police officers are close-knit – and we are tied to each other not just by our department, precinct or even where we live, but by the badge and what it stands for.
As you can tell from the size of this crowd today, many badges from all over have come to pay their respects to Elizabeth and Butch, two testaments to police officers everywhere.
We thank you, brothers and sisters for your outpouring of support – we know you grieve alongside us.
And as we honor the lives of Elizabeth and Butch today, we know that this pain, while terrible and seemingly unending, will one day pass and that we will use the power of their memories to sustain us as we heal and in the years to come.
Their memories, their legacy of service will forever be part of this police force and our community. They devoted their lives to making Santa Cruz a safe place for our families and for their families whom they loved so much.
Their impact on our Department, on our city, and on the law enforcement community, will last far beyond their years.
They fought to protect the rights of people they loved just as hard as those of the people they never met. They were police officers through and through and they would want us to keep fighting for Santa Cruz and for the values all of us hold dear.
I love them both dearly and I will miss them forever.
Steve Clark for Butch Baker….Return With Honor
Good afternoon everyone. I was honored to be asked by the Baker family to speak about my colleague and my friend Butch Baker.
The family had one simple request of me….keep it light and make them laugh. That is what Butch would have wanted, so that is what I will try to do.
The problem is, there are so many decent people here, I will have to keep it appropriate. You have no idea how much that limits the material I have to work with here.
Wow…just look at everybody here. Butch would have loved this. Anyone who knows Butch, knows he would have loved to sit back and watch all this drama unfold.
Just look at all the dignitaries. Mr. Panetta, Attorney General Harris, and Governor Brown, we are so honored to have you here.
Governor, has anyone ever told you that bear a striking resemblance….to me! (Pose).
Butch was actually one of the first people to point this out to me. He told me “Dude, you look like the Governor”.
You know…he never said that when Schwarzenegger was in office!!
For all of you not from California…”Dude” means “hey”
I hope it is OK, but there were some people in the restaurant last night that think they took a picture with you. And there was someone who bought you coffee this morning at Starbucks.
Not to worry, I didn’t leave letting them think they had met you, I told them the truth, I told them who I was…I said I was Paul Shaffer from David Letterman’s Band.
It is good to laugh…Butch would have wanted that. Anyone who knew Butch, knew you couldn’t stay serious for too long around him. Butch could always find a way to turn a perfectly serious situation into an opportunity to make you laugh.
Butch was an amazing detective. He was always looking for the angle on things. Butch had more angles than a college math professor.
Butch had a background in the car sales business. He combined that with his intuition and ability to read people and became an amazing interviewer.
Butch could get people to talk to him about anything...and the suspects that would confess to him… and the things they would admit to.
It wasn’t until I found myself trying to buy a new car that I realized what Butch was doing in his interviews. This car salesman sounded a lot like Butch in an interview!!
I knew things had gotten carried away with the used car salesman routine when one day I transported a suspect to jail after Butch interviewed him.
When we got to the jail, the suspect wanted to know if it was too late to get the extended warranty and leather package.
And did you ever try to have a semi-covert conversation with Butch. The way he would explain things…it would go something like this
We have thing where ahhhh you know, some stuff just needs to be…you going to be alright with that?” At first you would find yourself asking…what did he just say.
Eventually, you started to understand those conversations…and what’s worse, you would respond just like him…and understand it!
And Butch was always in the information business. It seems like he always knew when things were stirring in the department.
He would just magically show up in and around your office.
Trying to corral that curiosity made me feel like “The Man in the Yellow Hat”.
Butch had a little telltale sign when was looking for information…He had a little lean and a hop as he peered into your window, office door, hallway. If looked like this….
If it was really serious, you would get the moustache rub.
Since he always wore shorts, sometimes we could tell how serious things were based on the workout his left calf was getting.
The size of Butch’s left calf would change depending on how things were going around the department. How’s the calf today…is the day going to be OK??
Butch loved a practical joke. Everything from
helping to finance an ad for an 6 a.m. Saturday garage sale at my house
putting a co-workers house up for sale with a local realtor while they were on vacation
putting spinner hubcaps on the investigations Lieutenant’s car to “pimp” his ride.
Butch was always waiting in anticipation for someone to seize the moment and create a practical joke.
He would be the guy that would come to you and say, “you should do….or you ought to…”
Most of us that knew Butch could say that we’ve been “Butched” at least once.
Butch was like the farmer that would plant the seeds and stand back to proudly watch the crop grow into a beautiful garden of practical jokes.
As much fun as Butch was…there was a serious side to him too.
Kelly, Adam, Jillian, Ashley…He loved you all so. He was so proud of you.
In fact Adam, when it was time to make a hiring decision for you at the police department we saw a lot of that hop and lean.
Butch and I would often talk of the deeper things in life. One of the things we shared was a common experience in the POST SLI program.
We would often talk about our profound learning experiences and how we wanted to be better leaders for those that depended on us.
Butch was the ultimate “go to” guy and he would always be there when the chips were down. He sacrificed himself in many ways.
And in allowing us to experience Butch’s loyalty and dedication, I know the family sacrificed too.
In spite of how hard he worked, Butch understood that the only thing he would leave behind is the people he influenced. He cared deeply for his family and those he worked with.
Butch knew how special the people are that choose public safety as their profession. He knew it was more than a profession, but rather it was a lifestyle.
He knew the special bond shared by those who reached out to help, even in the worst circumstances. He felt the enormous responsibility of caring for these extraordinary people.
So here we are…..where do we go from here? How do we carry on after this horrific tragedy?
One of the things Butch and I shared was a book written by my friend Dave Carey.
Dave was a POW in the Vietnam War. He was captured and spent years in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton”.
When Dave was asked how they survived and moved forward he gave a simple answer.
Dave and his fellow prisoners had a simple motto….”Return With Honor”.
Return With Honor….what a simple concept. The idea that no matter what you do today - you return with honor.
So how do we honor the legacy of these officers who sacrificed so much.
Simple…We Return With Honor
So the challenge to everyone that hears my words….if you want to honor the legacy of these officers who died defending your community, representing your profession or standing for the cause of safety and freedom…then you return with honor…in all that you do
No matter who you are, or what you do in this world…return with honor.
For the public safety people here …No matter what kind of call for service to go to, what kind of case you investigate, case you present or hear in court, or how you conduct yourself to your community, you return with honor.
Do what you do today, in such a way that you can return with honor.
That’s how we honor their sacrifice. That is what butch and Elizabeth would ask of us.
Finally, here is what I know about life….None of us are getting out of this alive!
We will all find ourselves in Butch and Elizabeth’s place…when our days here are finished. The day will come when we will be summoned to return to our maker.
What I would ask is that you live your life in such a way that you can return to him with honor.
When you show up at those pearly gates you’ll see Butch doing his lean…
He’ll be so excited to tell you what he has discovered, because you know he’s probably in the information business up there too.
Detective Wendy Bynes
I am here today to speak on behalf of Elizabeth, and on behalf of all the women of the Department.
I am in awe at the outpouring of support and love this community, this state and the extended law enforcement family has shown us in our time of need.
I have lived and worked in this community my entire life and have never experienced such a horrific act by one sick individual or such an equally overwhelming call to aid during such a difficult time.
In many ways this is a testament to Elizabeth – how she touched so many lives, made a difference in so many ways and showed that in people’s worst days we can still see the best.
To all of our allied agencies here today – your unyielding support and unprecedented response was worthy of the type of person and officer Elizabeth was.
I am proud to stand up here as a member of this police department, a female police officer that like Elizabeth is a mother and a member and of the Santa Cruz community. Elizabeth shared this pride of community and faith in our law enforcement partners.
Elizabeth would be eternally grateful to those who came to her aid and defense as well as those who have come forward to show their love and support through the numerous acts of kindness, whether they be cards, gifts, donations and offers of help.
She would have done the same for any one of you. This is what she lived and died for -- her community, her nation and the human race as a whole.
She put others first – that is why she was to be a police officer.
She was the voice of those who could not speak for themselves.
She worked tirelessly to see that even the meekest had a chance at justice.
She bravely challenged those who told her “no” and forged ahead.
She saw helping others through police work as a noble and honorable profession.
She committed herself to be a fierce warrior in the battle on crime and injustice.
She felt fulfilled when she could help those who had challenges beyond that of ordinary folks. She always fought for the underdog.
Put simply, Elizabeth wasn’t just one of the best female officers in our state, she was one of the best officers. Period.
Elizabeth you… will… be… missed… intensely.
She rose to the challenge of competing in a male dominated profession to prove herself a worthy member of the “brother/sisterhood”.
She embodied what it means to be a working mother, partner, daughter and sister—and she gracefully showed us that we do not have to sacrifice empathy and compassion or motherhood to be a tenacious and tough cop.
She felt that there was a lack of women in this profession and wished that there were more willing to step up to the challenge.
She was a mentor to me and to other women at our agency – she always put others first.
Elizabeth would not want us to dwell on the unspeakable horror of that day.
She would want us all to take stock - and then to keep moving forward. Peter, Joaquin and Stellan, the legacy of Elizabeth will live on.
She will never be forgotten and her life will not have been in vain. Every year that passes her spirit and innate goodness will shine through in moments of laughter, tears and hope.
Elizabeth was a hero in every sense of the word –she was a hero our community could not afford to lose.
I am honored to have known her. I am honored to have worked with her.
And I thank her family and all of you for letting me share a little more of Elizabeth’s life with you.
County Supervisor/Police Spokesman Zach Friend:
Everyone handles pain differently, but for police officers there’s no time for pain, no time for grief and no time to rest.
All of us are in pain now, especially our brave police force.
This has been an extraordinarily trying time in our community. Some of the darkest days we’ve ever seen. But through it all, one thing has become clear: that this community takes care of its own.
We take care of our own like our police take care of us.
We look out for each other and we support each other – especially during times like these.
I’ve never been more proud to be a member of the Santa Cruz community nor have I ever been more proud to be part of the Santa Cruz police family.
I was lucky to work alongside the bravest among us, including my friends Butch and Elizabeth.
For most of the last decade I was the Public Information Officer and Crime Analyst for this Department – and I had the honor of coming to work every day with people who were dedicated to making our community a better place.
People like Butch and Beth who heeded the call of public service and just wanted to do right by the city they loved.
To those lucky enough to know them, they weren’t just cops on the street. To know them was to see how much they loved this community, and to see how much they loved their work and their families. To know them was a real gift and one that I will always cherish.
Butch and Elizabeth spent their lives in search of the truth, fighting for what was right, making someone feel safe, or just making someone laugh.
Butch and Elizabeth exemplified what it means to be a Santa Cruz Police officer, joining a proud line of officers going back over 150 years.
They looked out for this community and protected us on sunny days and dark days like the one we all faced last Tuesday.
They’ve been there to keep us safe and a source of comfort. They have been there for us.
Santa Cruz, now it is our turn to return the favor.
We need to be there for them, for their families and for the entire Police Department. For this is not a snapshot in time. This is the time for a new beginning – a rebirth in our commitment and relationship to local law enforcement. A long term play.
As the department grieves the loss of two heroes, as they get back to work, as they put on their badges and uniforms each and every day.
As they do that, we need to be their source of comfort, to be their protectors and to show them how much the memories of Butch and Elizabeth means to all of us.
I know we can do it.
For the last week I’ve been humbled by the show of love and support, the admiration and the reverence that everyone in Santa Cruz has shown to Butch, Beth and their families.
I’ve seen handmade cards, flowers and candles. I’ve seen strangers moved to tears when told of the lives Butch and Beth led – the service they gave us and the differences they made in our community.
And I’ve seen law enforcement officers from all over this great state gather here in Santa Cruz to stand shoulder to shoulder with the SCPD.
Many are here with us today, yet no matter what their uniforms look like or what’s on their badge, now and forever each and every one of you are a member of the Santa Cruz Police Department family.
We – are all – members of the Santa Cruz Police Department.
It hurts to think of Butch and Beth. They were my friends and they died heroes.
It hurts, yet I am filled with pride – pride for the fact that I knew them and was lucky enough to work with them, and pride for the fact that I am part, not just of the Santa Cruz Police Department family, but a part of this Santa Cruz community.
Part of the community that has rallied together to give our protectors their support. Part of this community that has been strong so that our officers could grieve.
Part of this community that will heal over time, but will never forget the lives of two extraordinary people and the values they fought for – values so precious to all of us.
Family, community and justice.
In that order.
Family, community, and justice.
Like so many of you I can hear their distinct voices and their infectious laughs. And just like they did for thousands of others in our community, I can hear them ever so clearly telling me - it will be OK.
It will be OK because we have risen from the ashes before.
We have risen from the ashes after 89 and we will do it after the largest emotional earthquake our county has ever experienced.
Kelly and Peter – we have risen from these ashes before.
And we will do it again – we will do it because Butch and Beth need us to.
I hurt today – our community hurts today - but Butch and Beth’s legacy gives me hope for tomorrow.