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JBLM honors fallen law enforcement officer

Law enforcement vehicles arrive at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Dec. 9, 2016, for the funeral procession of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. Officer Gutierrez was killed in the line of duty Nov. 30,, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)

Law enforcement vehicles arrive at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Dec. 9, 2016, for the funeral procession of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. Officer Gutierrez was killed in the line of duty Nov. 30,, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)

A Solider from the 42nd Military Police Brigade stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord checks the IDs of a Douglas County Sheriff arriving at McChord Field, Wash. Dec. 9, 2016. The Sheriff came to JBLM to participate in the funeral procession for Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)

A Solider from the 42nd Military Police Brigade stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord checks the IDs of a Douglas County Sheriff arriving at McChord Field, Wash. Dec. 9, 2016. The Sheriff came to JBLM to participate in the funeral procession for Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)

A Joint Base Lewis-McChord fire truck moves into position on the McChord Field flightline Dec., 9, 2016, at JBLM, Wash. An American flag would be suspended over the road way between the JBLM fire truck and a South King county fire truck for the funeral procession of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez to pass under on their way to the funeral location. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)

A Joint Base Lewis-McChord fire truck moves into position on the McChord Field flightline Dec., 9, 2016, at JBLM, Wash. An American flag would be suspended over the road way between the JBLM fire truck and a South King county fire truck for the funeral procession of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez to pass under on their way to the funeral location. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)

Members of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord fire department as well as the South King County fire departments raise a flag over the road way on the McChord Filed, Wash. Dec., 9, 2016. A funeral procession staging at JBLM would pass underneath the flag on their way to the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Wash., for the funeral of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)

Members of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord fire department as well as the South King County fire departments raise a flag over the road way on the McChord Filed, Wash. Dec., 9, 2016. A funeral procession staging at JBLM would pass underneath the flag on their way to the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Wash., for the funeral of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)

Spc. Mary Mitchell, 170th Military Police Company, directs traffic of law enforcement vehicles arriving at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.  Dec. 9, 2016. More than 450 vehicles staged at the McChord Field Flgihtline for the funeral procession of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)

Spc. Mary Mitchell, 170th Military Police Company, directs traffic of law enforcement vehicles arriving at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Dec. 9, 2016. More than 450 vehicles staged at the McChord Field Flgihtline for the funeral procession of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)

Senior Airman Jordan Proctor, 627th Security Forces Squadron, directs law enforcement vehicles on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Dec. 9, 2016. More than 450 law enforcement vehicles from all across the country staged at JBLM for the funeral of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)

Senior Airman Jordan Proctor, 627th Security Forces Squadron, directs law enforcement vehicles on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Dec. 9, 2016. More than 450 law enforcement vehicles from all across the country staged at JBLM for the funeral of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)

Charles Thornton, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Directorate of Emergency Services joint operations officer for McChord Filed, coordinates with a Seattle Police Officer Dec. 9, 2016, on McChord Field, Wash. Thornton was the lead coordinator and point of contact for the more than 450 vehicles and 1,250 people who staged at JBLM for the funeral of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)

Charles Thornton, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Directorate of Emergency Services joint operations officer for McChord Filed, coordinates with a Seattle Police Officer Dec. 9, 2016, on McChord Field, Wash. Thornton was the lead coordinator and point of contact for the more than 450 vehicles and 1,250 people who staged at JBLM for the funeral of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)

Charles Thornton, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Directorate of Emergency Services joint operations officer for McChord Filed, directs law enforcement officers from all over the country staged on McChord Filed, Wash., Dec 9, 2016, for the funeral of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. Thornton has been involved with police officer funeral proceedings three times in the past. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)

Charles Thornton, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Directorate of Emergency Services joint operations officer for McChord Filed, directs law enforcement officers from all over the country staged on McChord Filed, Wash., Dec 9, 2016, for the funeral of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. Thornton has been involved with police officer funeral proceedings three times in the past. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)

More than 450 emergency response vehicles prepare to leave the McChord Filed flightline on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Dec. 9, 2016. The vehicles staged at JBLM for the funeral procession of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. Officer Gutierrez was killed in the line of duty Nov. 30, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Sean Tobin)

More than 450 emergency response vehicles prepare to leave the McChord Filed flightline on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Dec. 9, 2016. The vehicles staged at JBLM for the funeral procession of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. Officer Gutierrez was killed in the line of duty Nov. 30, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Sean Tobin)

The funeral procession for Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez leaves Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Dec. 9, 2016, on their way to the funeral location at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Wash. JBLM was chosen as the staging area because of its ability to accommodate the more than 450 vehicles and its proximity to the funeral location created the least amount of impact to the surrounding traffic patterns. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)
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The funeral procession for Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez leaves Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Dec. 9, 2016, on their way to the funeral location at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Wash. JBLM was chosen as the staging area because of its ability to accommodate the more than 450 vehicles and its proximity to the funeral location created the least amount of impact to the surrounding traffic patterns. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --

On Dec. 9 more than 450 police and emergency vehicles along with more than 1,200 police and emergency personnel staged on the McChord Field Flight line at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

The vehicles staged at McChord for the funeral procession for Tacoma Police Department officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez, who was killed in the line of duty Nov. 30. 

The McChord Field flightline was able to provide the ideal single parking location for that amount of vehicles as well as a direct path to the funeral location at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington.

“All the construction around the Tacoma Dome made it impossible to have one parking location for all of the vehicles that came in to be a part of the procession.” said Charles Thornton, JBLM Directorate of Emergency Services joint operations officer for McChord Filed. “The direct route from the north side of base to the Tacoma Dome allowed for the least amount of disruption to the local community, especially on Interstate 5.”

The logistics of undertaking a task of this size with the short amount of time to plan can be a challenge for the base.

“Planning an operation like this is huge,” said Thornton. “We have to look at the logistics of how it is going to impact the community as well as the mission of JBLM.”

 Thornton has handled this sort of event three times before and has the experience to handle the complexity of the situation.  

“I have learned that you need to have a primary and two alternate’s plans,” said Thornton. “The amount of support from the local, state and federal agencies has been unbelievable. It’s amazing how everyone can pull together and work as a team. This isn’t about JBLM working with the community. The servicemembers assigned to JBLM leave all throughout the Pierce, King and Thurston counties and are part of the community. Those police officers put their lives on the line protecting our servicemembers and their families are protecting them just like we would on the installation.”

Despite the scrambling necessary to get everything prepared for the procession staging and the extra workload it created JBLM was happy to support.

“JBLM was honored to provide the staging area for Officer Gutierrez’s funeral procession on McChord Field,” said Col. Leo Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. “We wanted to show our support and solidarity for the law enforcement communities’ loss.”

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