The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Published: Tuesday, February 8, 2011, 12:24 p.m.

In Everett, somber corrections family begins to grieve

  • Officers stand guard over the flag-draped coffin of corrections officer Jayme Biendl on Tuesday at Comcast Arena in Everett.

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    Officers stand guard over the flag-draped coffin of corrections officer Jayme Biendl on Tuesday at Comcast Arena in Everett.

EVERETT -- Hundreds of Monroe corrections officers and their families filled up the seats at the Comcast Arena to pay respect to their friend and colleague, Jayme Biendl.

They are supported by corrections and police officers who have come from around the North America.

A water bottle and package of tissues were placed on each seat before people arrived.

Many law enforcement officers saluted or held their hands over their hearts as the honor guard slowly walked Biendl's casket into the building where it was placed before a flower-covered stage.

The clicking of the honor guards shoes could be heard as they solemnly walked back to the entrance.

At least a dozen aisles in the arena were set for family and friends. Corrections officers from Monroe held each other and lightly patted backs as officials readied for the ceremony.

The mood on the prison grounds at Monroe has been grim since the Jan. 29 killing.

Community corrections officer Mary Rehberg's office is only a few yards from the memorial set up outside the prison's Twin Rivers entrance.

She's watched for days as people stopped by to drop off flowers and cards.

The work at the prison and in the community has to continue, despite thehurt, she said.

“It's very devastating,” she said. “We don't have time to stop and really, truly grieve for her until today as a DOC family.”

Rehberg was helping people from various agencies find their seats. Even the small task helped with the grief, she said.

Many stopped by tables at the arena's entrance to sign guest books for Biendl's family, and wicker baskets filled with the notes, cards and letters they brought to share.

Dozens of corrections workers from Shelton rode in on an offender transportation buses Tuesday morning.

The buses were mostly silent, Shelton corrections Sgt. Jamison Roberts said.

After they heard about Biendl's death, they immediately started making calls to see what they could do, he said. It was an honor for some of his colleagues to fill in at the prison so Monroe workers could attend the memorial.

“The biggest thing is to make sure everyone feels like they're being supported,” he said.

The killing has reminded many corrections officers of their own mortality, he said. Every day in the prisons desensitizes them to the danger, he said. This has been a reminder of just how close is the risk.

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