Newport police will lend hand during memorial

Newport Beach police will take over patrols in Laguna Beach on Friday while their neighboring officers attend a memorial for one of their fallen brethren.

Members of Laguna's Police Department will be attending the service for motorcycle Officer Jon Coutchie, who died in a traffic collision late Saturday.

Newport employees will take over Laguna's police work and cover support positions from Thursday night to Saturday morning, said Larry Bammer, president of the Laguna Beach Police Employees Assn.

"It allows all of the officers to go home and be prepared and ready to go to the memorial, and [makes it] so every employee from our records clerk to all the officers and the detectives are all able to attend," he said.

Newport's police have been supporting their neighbors in other ways too.

On Sunday, Bammer said, they arranged catered food for the entire department.

Irvine police also have been "phenomenal," he said. That city's officers will be working traffic control around Mariner's Church in Irvine, where the memorial is scheduled to take place.

"The public safety community is like a family. When tragedy strikes another agency, we all feel the effects," Newport police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella said in an email. "The Laguna Beach Police Department is our close neighbor and partner in local law enforcement. We will support Laguna Beach during this difficult time — just as they would do for us."

Bammer said that over his 15 years in law enforcement, he has been to about a dozen memorials for fallen officers.

They are always draining, he said, making the support of other departments that much more important.

"Emotionally there's just no way any of our officers would be able go the funeral and work Friday night," he said.

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