Thursday, February 26, 2009

State Road Is Renamed after Slain Sheriff's Deputy!

A Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputy killed in the line of duty is getting a new tribute.

Today, at a meeting in Santa Rosa, The NM Transportation Commission agreed to name State Road 337, in Tijreas , the James McGrane Highway.

Deputy McGrane was shot and killed while making a traffic stop there at the end of his watch on March 22, 2006.

McGrane's accused killer Michael Paul Astoraga is awaiting trial and is currently housed at the NM State Prison in Santa Fe on parole violations. Astoraga is also accused in two other earlier murders. He was arrested in Mexico City and extradited to New Mexico in April 2006 after his mug shot appeared on America's Most Wanted.

McGrane had served with the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department for 3 years. He also worked in law enforcement for the NM State Police and the United State Postal Inspection Service.

The renaming process began a few years ago by residents in the East Mountains.

County Commissioner Michael Brasher and Sheriff Darren White backed the idea, but the process was delayed because road name change rules were being changed by the NM Transportation Commission.

"This is a fitting tribute to a dedicated law enforcement officer," said White. "It is recognition of the way McGrane lived his life, not by the way it was taken."

White says he doesn't have an exact date for the ribbon cutting ceremony, but said, "It won't be long. We've already been in touch with the Governor's office."

The Officer's Down Memorial Page has more information on McGrane.

The ABQJournal has more on the story, including how the 38-year old's family is celebrating the decision.

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