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City Council Approves $10K Grant for Police Memorial

The Laguna Beach City Council unanimously approved contributing up to $10,000 to help fund the proposed police memorial to honor fallen Motor Officer Jon Coutchie and Police Officer Gordon French.

The temporary marker identiifes the proposed site for the permanent monument planned to honor fallen Laguna Beach police officers. (Photo credit Nisha Gutierrez-Jaime)
The temporary marker identiifes the proposed site for the permanent monument planned to honor fallen Laguna Beach police officers. (Photo credit Nisha Gutierrez-Jaime)
The Laguna Beach City Council approved a grant this week to match up to $10,000 to support the funding of a permanent monument planned in memory of the city's two fallen police officers.

The fundraising campaign, led by the Laguna Beach Police Employees' Association to raise $40,000, was created to fund the permanent monument planned for installation in front of the Police Department to honor the memory and sacrifice of Motor Officer Jon Coutchie and Police Officer Gordon French. At its Tuesday night meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to contribute up to $10,000 to help the LBPEA reach its goal.

"Originally this fundraising task was daunting, but then the flood gates opened and as of today we have just over $24,000," Larry Bammer, president of the LBPEA, told the City Council. "Your $10,000 matching contribution is greatly appreciated."

Coutchie, 42, died on Sept. 21 in a traffic accident on Coast Highway when his motorcycle collided with a pickup truck. It was the first line-of-duty death of an LBPD officer since 1953 when French was killed in a fatal shooting. Coutchie's mother, Luciana, attended the City Council meeting to thank the community for its support.

"I am overwhelmed by the love, concern and support from all of you from the city, the businesses and the citizens," Luciana Coutchie said through tears. "Thank you so much for this contribution. Obviously as his mother I don't want anyone to ever forget him."

Some council members voiced their concern for the location of the proposed police memorial, but Bammer reassured them that the Laguna Beach Police Department was the best spot in terms of visibility and protection of the memorial.

"It's going to be right outside of the watch commander's window, officers will see it when they come and go to work and residents and visitors will see it when they stop by to handle police department business," Bammer said.

If you would like to help raise money for the police memorial, a fundraiser is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 27 from 5:30-9 p.m. at Allesandro and Mare Culinary Lounge, 696 S. Coast Highway in Laguna Beach. Tickets for the silent auction and dinner are being sold for $100 and can be purchased at eventbrite.com/e/lb-police-officer-memorial-artwork-fundraiser-tickets. 

Anyone who is unable to attend the event, can send donations to the Laguna Beach Community Foundation, P.O. Box 1628, Laguna Beach, 92652. Checks can be made to “LBCF-LB Police Officer Memorial Artwork Fund.”

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