EVERETT — Thousands of mourners from across the state are gathering to pay homage to slain corrections officer Jayme Biendl at a public memorial today in Everett.
Corrections officers from around the country, including Oregon, California, Idaho and New York are here, Everett police Sgt.
Robert Goetz said.
Henry Martinez is a captain with the New York City Department of Corrections. He and nine others flew into Washington to attend Biendl’s service.
“It’s a tragedy. One of our sisters has fallen at the hands of a criminal,” Martinez said. “It’s tragedy not only in Was
hington but for the entire country.”
Biendl was killed Jan. 29 while working at her post in the chapel at the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe. Byron Scherf, 52, a convicted rapist serving a life sentence, is being investigated in connection with her death.
Biendl, 34, would be the first corrections officer in the 100-year history of the Monroe Correctional Complex to be killed by an inmate.
Biendl’s co-workers began gathering at Comcast Arena this morning. Hundreds of her co-workers from the prison at Monroe are expected to attend the afternoon memorial service at Comcast Arena.
Every staff member at Monroe was given the opportunity to attend, correctional complex spokeswoman Cathy Kopoian said. Monroe has around 1,200 employees, including about 775 corrections officers.
Staff members from prisons across the state will fill in at Monroe so Biendl’s co-workers can attend her memorial, corrections spokesman Chad Lewis said. Inmates at prisons statewide will be kept in their cells for a 24-hour lockdown.
Organizers are planning for about 4,000 people to attend the memorial, but say they have no accurate way to gauge the size of the gathering ahead of time.
Today’s memorials are a mix of public and private events.
A funeral motorcade in Biendl’s honor began in 10:30 a.m. in Marysville after a private family service at Schaefer-Shipman Funeral Home. The motorcade made its way to the Monroe Correctional Complex parking lot, where a crowd gathered to silently greet it before it headed west to Everett toward Comcast Arena.
In Monroe, Snohomish County Fire District 3 and Snohomish County Fire District 7 positioned their ladder trucks at the entrance to the prison, officials said. A U.S. flag was draped between the trucks for the procession to go under.
The motorcade arrived at Comcast Arena about 11:45 a.m.
The public memorial is expected to begin at 1 p.m. and to last until about 3 p.m. Comcast Arena is open for public seating.
Expected speakers include Biendl’s co-workers, Corrections Secretary Eldon Vail and Gov. Chris Gregoire.
The memorial planning team has included representatives from law enforcement, the state corrections department, the Behind the Badge Foundation and the city of Monroe, Everett police Sgt. Robert Goetz said.
The memorial will follow protocols for every law enforcement funeral, Goetz said.
Most, if not all, of local law enforcement will wear mourning bands across their badges in honor of Biendl, Goetz said. The position and angle of the bands varies by agency and badge shape. The bands traditionally remain in place at least until the end of the funeral service, longer in some cases.
There will be floor seating reserved for Monroe prison staff, officials and Biendl’s family, Goetz said.
There also will be a final call featuring the number Biendl was assigned to identify herself during radio transmissions. A dispatcher will solemnly repeat the slain officer’s call number three times without answer, Goetz said. After the silence, the dispatcher will repeat Biendl’s unit number a final time, then say Biendl’s name and say that she is gone but not forgotten.
Two flags, one U.S., the other the state of Washington, will be presented to Biendl’s family, Goetz said. The governor will present a state flag in a special box. The U.S. flag will drape Biendl’s coffin. An honor guard will remove it and fold it before presenting it to her family.
A riderless horse also will be part of the ceremony, in keeping with law enforcement tradition, Goetz said. Biendl’s pallbearers will be from the corrections department’s Honor Guard.
Traveling through or parking in downtown Everett likely could be challenging today.
Several downtown Everett streets will be closed beginning at 6 a.m. The closures include Wall Street between Broadway and Oakes Avenue; Oakes Avenue between Wall Street and Hewitt Avenue; Oakes Avenue between Hewitt Avenue and California Street; Rockefeller Avenue between Wall Street and Hewitt Avenue; Hewitt Avenue’s eastbound curb lane between Rockefeller Avenue and Broadway; Broadway’s southbound curb lane between California and Wall streets; and Broadway’s southbound curb lane near Memorial Stadium.
Public parking is available at the following locations: 10th Street Boat Launch off of W. Marine View Drive; Everett Memorial Stadium’s south lot accessed in the 4000 block of Broadway; and Everett Transit’s east lot located off 3300 Hill St.
Shuttle buses will run between these lots and Comcast Arena from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Durham School Services transportation company is donating buses and drivers for the shuttle service, said Mary Waggoner, spokeswoman for Everett Public Schools, which contracts with Durham.
Snohomish County government will operate on a normal schedule at its campus next door to Comcast Arena. Law enforcement officers will be allowed to park for free in the county parking garage if they are in uniform or display a badge.
The planning team and the Teamsters Local 117, which represents corrections workers, have established accounts to help pay for the memorial service.
Donations can be made in Biendl’s memory at any Union Bank, formerly known as Frontier Bank.
Donations also may be made at any Bank of America branch.
They also can be sent to the Jayme Biendl Benevolent Fund, 14675 Interurban Ave. S., Suite 307, Tukwila, WA 98168.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, email@example.com.
The memorial service for slain corrections officer Jayme Biendl begins at 1 p.m. today at Everett’s Comcast Arena.
Here’s a tentative schedule of the day’s events:
10 a.m.: Comcast Arena opens to public.
10:30 a.m. Motorcade leaves Schaefer-Shipman Funeral Home in Marysville, taking I-5 and U.S. 2 to Monroe Correctional Complex. It then proceeds to Everett, ending at Comcast.
Noon: Guests are seated in arena.
1 p.m. Memorial service begins.
3 p.m. Memorial service ends.
5:30 p.m. Shuttle service to parking areas ends.