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Santa Cruz Sentinel, Calif., Ramona Turner column
[March 13, 2013]

Santa Cruz Sentinel, Calif., Ramona Turner column

Mar 14, 2013 (Santa Cruz Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Among the many videos on YouTube that memorialize last Thursday's funeral procession for slain Santa Cruz Police detective Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker and detective Elizabeth Butler, one is going viral.

While the other procession videos were shot by spectators, this one, at v=wli8MaHyhFQ, was captured by California Highway Patrol officer Sam Courtney, who attached a GoPro HERO3 Black Edition video camera to the front of his patrol motorcycle moments before the procession began.

And the video is taking YouTube by storm.

It took Courtney about an hour to edit the footage. When he posted it just after 7 p.m. Friday, he shared the link with a few friends, who shared it with their friends. Street Smarts also shared it on Facebook and Twitter. A little more than 24 hours later, it logged nearly 7,000 views. By 10:30 a.m. Sunday, it crested 12,000 views. At the time this column was submitted, it had around 24,000 views.

"I didn't think it would go this big," said the 18-year CHP veteran who made the video to help those who otherwise would have missed the experience. "I was just trying to help SCPD however I could." "Sam's video captures the enormity of the response by so many people," said Deputy Chief Steve Clark of Santa Cruz police. He preceded the procession from Santa Cruz to San Jose's HP Pavilion by about 10 minutes to wrap up the arrangements there.

"The CHP was just starting to shut down the roads at that time," he recalled. "I was amazed and honored by the number of people that came out to honor these officers and our department. I was so touched by all the handmade signs, flags and the sheer number of people who gave up their time to do this. I must admit, I was crying by the time I left the city limits." The video by the CHP's Courtney puts the viewer in the rider's seat, as it captured mourners coming out to support law enforcement. The 7 minute, 2 second video speeds up the procession's 25-40 mph pace to condense the nearly 90-minute trip over the hill.

At various points, it slows down to show the many people lining the route, including along Ocean Street, from Beach Flats to Highway 17. Once on the highway, many more, including police and fire personnel, stood on the overpasses or on the side of the freeway along the route.

"I think Sam's video is a great and unique viewing opportunity for the community to see," said Clark.

The response has been positive, with some people saying the video brought them to tears, said Courtney. Others told him they have watched it numerous times in awe. And there are those who suggested he post an unedited version, something YouTube won't allow due to the length, he said.

In thanking Courtney for recording the procession, Clark said he hopes to make the video available for department use, he said.

Meanwhile, Courtney said he was glad his video is providing a new perspective on first responder funeral processions.

"Hopefully, this is the last time we get to capture that kind of history here," he said.

Street Smarts appears Mondays and Thursdays. New topics are posted weekdays on the blog, at Follow it also on Twitter and Facebook. Submit questions to those aforementioned social media sites or to Make sure to include your name, city of residence and a phone number where you can be reached.

___ (c)2013 the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.) Visit the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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