Many loyal to Jayme Biendl’s legacy

MONROE — Jayme Biendl certainly has not been forgotten during the 823 days it has taken for her suspected killer to go to trial.

In January, 450 people descended on Monroe to honor the slain prison corrections officer during a 5K Memorial walk and run in her name. Organizers already are planning next year’s event.

The $10,000 raised that day went to the Behind The Badge Foundation, which assists families and police agencies coping with trauma, grief and loss. The statewide nonprofit organization offers families of slain and critically injured officers counseling, memorial planning and other services.

Sgt. Brian Johnston is president of the Behind the Badge Foundation and has been a police officer with the city of Monroe for more than a quarter century.

Biendl’s death struck close to home.

Two years later, the loss has strengthened the connection among the Monroe Police Department, state Department of Corrections and the foundation, he said.

All are solidified in their resolve to make sure her contributions do not fade away.

“One of the things we all want to do is maintain Jayme’s memory,” he said. “It is important for families to see people remember their loved ones. It is very reassuring to them that their sacrifice is not forgotten.”

In the days after her death, the nation came to learn of Jayme Biendl as the first Washington state corrections officer killed in the line of duty at a prison in more than three decades. She was 34.

Her death was devastating to her family and friends, her coworkers at the Monroe Correctional Complex and the police and prosecutors working the case.

Biendl told friends that she believed a good corrections officer was someone who was firm, fair and consistent.

At the prison, Biendl earned a reputation of working by the book and supporting her colleagues. In 2008, she was nominated by her coworkers and named Corrections Officer of the Year at the Monroe prison.

Biendl was the oldest of six children who graduated from Granite Falls High School in consecutive years.

She worked hard her entire life, beginning in the berry fields as a child.

In 2003, she took a civilian job at the Monroe prison. She initially handed out uniforms to inmates at the sprawling campus.

A few months later, she was hired as a correctional officer. In 2005, she asked to be assigned to the single-officer post at the prison chapel within the century-old Washington State Reformatory.

She was found strangled at her post after her shift had ended Jan. 29, 2011. Inmate Byron Scherf, 54, is charged with aggravated first-degree murder and could face the death penalty. His trial started Wednesday.

Johnston has seen goodness emerge from the tragedy.

Her death moved people into action. He has seen deep inner qualities in people. He has watched people step forward to help with the foundation and its mission to assist families in their greatest hours of need.

“They are now part of that response team that will be there to help at a moment’s notice, to see that the appropriate honors are carried out and the support is there for grieving families,” he said.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Video shows man suspected of attacking a woman in Edmonds

The man allegedly threw her on the ground, then ran away after the she began kicking and screaming.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Officials to test sanity of suspect in Everett crime spree

He allegedly tried to rob and clobber a transit worker, then fled and struggled with police.

Katharine Graham, then CEO and chairwoman of the board of The Washington Post Co., looks over a copy of The Daily Herald with Larry Hanson, then The Herald’s publisher, during her visit to Everett on Sept. 20, 1984. The Washington Post Co. owned The Herald from 1978 until 2013. (Herald archives)
Everett’s brush with Katharine Graham, leader of ‘The Post’

Retired Herald publisher Larry Hanson recalls The Washington Post publisher’s visits.

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Families seek to change wrongful death law

A bill would allow or parents or siblings who wish to pursue a suit for an unmarried, childless adult.

Most Read