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SCPD funeral procession video goes viral
Among the many videos on YouTube that memorialize last Thursday's funeral procession for Santa Cruz Police detectives Loran “Butch” Baker and Elizabeth Butler, who were killed in the line of duty two weeks ago, one is going viral. While the other procession videos were shot by spectators who either stood on the side of the road or atop one of about 20 freeway overpasses along the route from near the Santa Cruz Boardwalk to San Jose's HP Pavillion, this one, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wli8MaHyhFQ, was filmed 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 took off. And the video is taking the Internet by storm. It took Courtney about an hour to edit the footage. When he posted it sometime after 7 p.m. Friday night, 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, the video logged nearly 7,000 views. At 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 the Santa Cruz Police Department. “I had to leave about 10 minutes before the official procession because I had to arrange things at HP Pavilion. CHP was just starting to shut down the roads at that time. 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.” Courtney's video puts the viewer in the rider's seat, as it captured mourners coming out to support law enforcement. In 7 minutes and 2 seconds, the video speeds up procession's 25-40 mph pace and condenses the nearly hour and a half long trip over the hill. At various points, it slows down to reveal hundreds of people lining the procession route, including along Ocean Street, from Beach Flats to Highway 17. Once on the highway, dozens more, including fire personnel, saluted from atop the 20 overpasses in two counties. As the procession approached the Highway 85-87 exchange, nearly 20 police officers stood in salute along the side of the highway. There are a few gaps in the video, as Courtney edited out the majority of his stops to perform traffic control for the procession. “I think Sam’s video is a great and unique viewing opportunity for the community to see,” said Clark. The response has all 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 memorializing the procession, Clark hopes to make the video available for department use, including uploading it to the department's own YouTube account, he said. Meanwhile, Courtney is 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.
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