Senate panel approves LaSata bill to honor local heroes

LANSING, Mich. — A bill to help ensure proper recognition for two Southwest Michigan heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice was approved on Thursday by the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

Senate Bill 321 , sponsored by Sen. Kim LaSata, would correct a discrepancy in current law to allow for the names of Security Supervisor Joseph P. Zangaro and Court Officer Ronald Kienzle to be added to the Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Monument. It would align the Michigan monument standard with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial standard to allow for law enforcement officers, including court officers and corrections offers who died in the line of duty, to be included on the state monument.

“My bill allows for these local heroes, along with 19 others and any future court officers who sacrifice their lives, to be properly honored by the state they served,” said LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township. “I thank the members of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee for their support and am hopeful the bill advances quickly.”

In 2016, Zangaro and Kienzle were shot and killed by an inmate inside the Berrien County Courthouse. Zangaro had previously served as a Michigan State Police officer for 25 years and Kienzle was retired from the Benton Charter Township Police Department.

Zangaro’s and Kienzle’s names are included on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. However, due to a discrepancy in Michigan law, they are not included on Michigan’s monument.

SB 321 now advances to the floor of the Senate for further consideration.

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State Sen. Kim LaSata (third left) is pictured with, from left, Bob Stevenson of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police; Berrien County Undersheriff Chuck Heit; Berrien County Court Security Supervisor Rick Lull; Berrien County Trial Court Chief Judge Gary Bruce; and Sheriff Blaine Koops of the Michigan Sheriffs Association. The group joined LaSata to support Senate Bill 321 at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee on Thursday, Nov. 7.