Bill would add SW MI court officers to monument

Southwest Michigan
Zangaro Kienzle 071116_228548

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Two Berrien County court bailiffs who were shot and killed on the job in 2016 would be added to the Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Monument under bill beore the state Legislature.

Sen. Kim LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township, introduced the bill Wednesday on Peace Officers Memorial Day. It would change the monument criteria to align with the requirements for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Berrien County Security Supervisor Joseph Zangaro, 61, and Bailiff Ron Kienzle, 63, were killed by an inmate who was trying to escape on July 11, 2016. That inmate, Larry Gordon, also wounded a deputy before he was shot and killed by other bailiffs.

While Zangaro and Kienzle died in the line of duty, they weren’t on the state monument because under current law, people named on it must meet the definition of a law enforcement officer under the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards Act. Zangaro and Kienzle did not meet those standards, a spokesperson for LaSata’s office explained.

Standards for the national memorial (PDF) are more inclusive, LaSata’s office said.

Her bill now goes to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

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