Sunday, March 8, 2009

Deputy McGrane's "End of Watch" Marked with New Highway Sign.

For nearly three years a white cross has marked the spot along highway 337 where Bernalillo County Sheriff's Deputy James McGrane was senselessly murdered during a routine traffic stop three years ago.

Now, a large green highway sign will remind driver's of McGrane's "end of watch" patrol on March 22, 2006.

On Friday, Governor Bill Richardson, Sheriff Darren White, McGrane's mother, father, sister, and nieces, the mayor of Tijeras, and others, honored the fallen deputy and dedicated the rural road to McGrane.

Wearing his full dress uniform and white gloves, Sheriff Darren White told the crowd how much McGrane, an 11 year law enforcement vet, loved his job, even calling him a "hero."

McGrane's dad, who drives a school bus said he asked his young riders to pray for good weather for the dedication ceremony, instead the wind and cold reminded the needless and chilling loss of his son.

McGrane said the new memorial would be a reminder of how his son lived...not died.

He also recalled how his son was afraid of the dark as a child, but loved patrolling the dark streets in the East Mountains as an adult. His mother said her last phone call with her son was 12 hours before his death. She told the crowd of nearly 150 people that McGrane told her he'd been invited to join the S.W.A.T., but was uncertain, because he loved community policing and his East Mountain Assignment. Mrs. McGrane said she's certain her son would be delighted with the crowd turnout, and that he's watching over deputies and police officers from heaven.

The McGrane's Foundation has been responsible for raising money for several advance street survival training classes and workshops for law enforcement officer's statewide.

Governor Richardson praised the family and Deputy McGrane.
Deputy McGrane sacrificed his life protecting the citizens of Bernalillo County and the citizens of this great state. He paid the ultimate price in the name of duty and public service. The naming of this Memorial Highway in honor of Deputy McGrane is a way for us to thank him for his service and remember what he and other fellow law enforcement officers do for us on a daily basis-putting their lives on the line in order to keep our communities safe.

State Transportation Commissioner Jackson Gibson said:
Naming this highway after Deputy McGrane is a fitting tribute to a man who gave his life in the line of duty. We hope this Memorial Highway will serve as a lasting reminder of Deputy McGrane's legacy.

The dedication officially designates 29.3 miles of N.M. 337 from N.M. 333 to N.M. 55 between Tijeras and Mountainair.

McGrane's accused killer Michael Paul Astoraga is facing the death penalty. But prosecutors are waiting to see if the ultimate penalty is repealed by lawmakers in Santa Fe, or if the court tosses the death penalty, before proceeding to trial.

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