Memorial run Sunday for slain corrections officer

MONROE — The course for the Jayme Biendl Memorial Run appropriately winds past the granite steps and tall columns leading into the Washington State Reformatory.

It should give those taking part in the second annual fundraiser a time to reflect.

“I heard a lot of people say they really liked the course last year and it was great to honor Jayme,” said detective Sgt. Cindy Chessie of the Monroe Police Department.

Biendl, 34, died in the line of duty Jan. 29, 2011. She was found strangled at her post in the prison chapel after her shift had ended. Inmate Byron Scherf, 54, is charged with aggravated first-degree murder and could face the death penalty. His trial is scheduled to begin in March.

As the second anniversary of her death approaches, the run is meant to celebrate the friend and co-worker Biendl was to many people, as well as her public service.

So far, about 270 people have registered to participate in the 5K event, which entrants can choose to run or walk. It begins at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Sky River Park, 818 Village Way, in Monroe.

Entrants are expected from as far away as Spokane and Longview.

“I believe there are a lot of corrections personnel that want to be involved,” Chessie said.

Many members of Biendl’s family also plan to take part.

Her family again chose to have proceeds from the run support the Behind the Badge Foundation, which assists families and police agencies coping with trauma, grief and loss. It offers families of slain and critically injured officers counseling, memorial planning and other services.

Registration is $30. Organizers warn they can’t guarantee a T-shirt in the right size for late entrants.

Last year’s event raised more than $14,000.

Chessie and another half-dozen people have been meeting since June to organize the second run.

She said it’s important to have a public event to continue to remember the slain corrections officer.

“I worked on the investigation,” Chessie said. “I feel like I got to know her and her family. I just didn’t want her memory to go away.”

For more information: www.monroewa.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=228.

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

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