SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — The Santa Cruz Police Department is mourning the loss of two exemplary investigators killed by a suspect they wanted to question about a misdemeanor sexual assault allegation, the police chief said Wednesday.
Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler were remembered as leaders, friends and invaluable resources for the small department of just 94 sworn officers.
An emotional Police Chief Kevin Vogel called Baker the department's best investigator and recalled that they had started together on the force in 1985.
Throughout his career, Baker trained many officers, including several who attained higher ranks.
"I consider Butch not only to be my co-worker, but he was my mentor, and he was my friend," Vogel said.
Baker inspired his son Adam to join the force. He now serves as a community service officer and has a mailbox next to his father's at the Police Department.
The chief also praised Butler, a 10-year veteran of the force who specialized in investigating sex assault cases. Colleagues said she viewed her job as a mix of fighting crime and public relations.