A street in the city park where slain Tacoma police officer Jake Gutierrez worked will soon bear his name.
The street that winds through Stewart Heights Park and past a police substation will be named in Gutierrez’s honor this summer.
The MetroParks Tacoma board made the decision Monday after Police Chief Don Ramsdell proposed the honor at a board meeting.
“It was a very emotional night when he made that request,” board commissioner and President Andrea Smith said Friday. “You felt the weight and you felt the sadness. But it was a joyful sadness that we were going to do something to honor him.”
Gutierrez, 45, was fatally shot Nov. 30 just a few blocks north of the park in the 400 block of East 56th Street while responding to a domestic disturbance.
A Pierce County sheriff’s marksman killed the gunman after an 11-hour standoff.
Ramsdell told the board that the Police Department had searched for a way to honor Gutierrez after receiving “an overwhelming amount of support” from the community.
“The outpouring of support was an incredible display of gratitude for Officer Gutierrez’s service and sacrifice,” the chief said.
“The lane represents a safe entrance past our substation to a place that children can enjoy a healthy recreation environment, which was something that Officer Gutierrez was proud of protecting,” Ramsdell said.
Police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said Gutierrez often interacted with those children.
“Jake was very gregarious, happy person,” she said. “When he went over, it would be a fun time.”
Normally, the board takes time to consider such requests, but on Monday it made a quick decision.
“The board was so moved they decided right then and there that his request was appropriate, and it was an easy decision for them,” Smith said.
The park serves the East Side and South Tacoma with play fields, skateboard park, playground and large outdoor swimming pool. The substation where Gutierrez worked is at East 56th Street and the street that will soon bear his name.
“To honor him at his place of work is pretty special,” Smith said.
Gutierrez won’t be the first city employee killed by gun violence to be memorialized at the park.
Lisa’s Garden remembers Lisa Marie Melancon, a 40-year-old city code enforcement officer. She died on her front porch in 2010 after being hit by a bullet fired from a car fleeing a fistfight.