Post Falls police Chief Scot Haug was driving back to his department from Clarkston on Friday, having concluded a presentation on reducing deaths in the line of duty, when he began to see the stickers. Plastered in the rear windows of vehicle after vehicle, each carried the same three-character message: K27.
It is a symbol Haug has seen countless times since Coeur d’Alene police Sgt. Greg Moore was shot and killed more than two years ago.
Today, thousands in Kootenai County use the black-and-blue symbol – Moore’s dispatch call-sign – as a rallying cry and a show of support for the thin blue line.
“You can’t go a day without seeing a K27 sticker on somebody’s car,” Haug said. “It’s been very prominent. It shows that the community supports its law enforcement. We put our officers at risk every day, and this shows that his service was valued.”
Haug, an expert in the study of officer-related deaths, speaks to law enforcement agencies across the country. This is the most collective support he’s seen from a community for a fallen officer, he said.
A stroll through the Lake City would be enough to convey its support for Moore, which hasn’t wavered since he was shot and killed by Jonathan Renfro in the early morning hours of May 5, 2015, after he approached the convicted felon on suspicion of car prowling.
Renfro was found guilty of first-degree murder on Oct. 13 and could face the death penalty.
On Friday afternoon, more than two years since the initial distribution of the stickers, five vehicles in the Coeur d’Alene Resort parking garage had K27 stickers, while three more were parked on Sherman Avenue. In a residential neighborhood, K27 was posted in the windows of three homes. A lifted truck in the Coeur d’Alene High School parking lot a had K27 decal, too.
A group of businesses scattered through the region proudly display Moore’s call sign, including Shenanigan’s Toy Emporium, which has a sizable display on its window in a high foot-traffic area of Sherman Avenue.
Every Kootenai County law enforcement agency patrol vehicle sports K27, and updates the stickers when old ones wither.
Sarah Hedlund, a Coeur d’Alene resident, got her K27 sticker from one of the local dispatchers who helped create the logo. The dispatcher asked notto be named in this story.
“It’s a reminder every day of the sacrifice Greg made for our community,” Hedlund said. “A sacrifice only a small percentage of the world’s population is willing to make, to ensure we live in a free society. When one of those brave few give the ultimate sacrifice, we honor them and make it a point to remember their sacrifice every day.”
Multiple local sticker-making businesses have turned out their own fleet of K27 stickers, which have been distributed through various Moore fundraisers.
Coeur d’Alene resident Alex Litz got his K27 sticker at a K27 memorial fundraiser at the downtown Coeur d’Alene Eagles.
Ground was broken at McEuen Park for the memorial in September. According to its design proposal, there will be a stream and three waterfalls, called Respect, Honor and Remember, respectively.
“I think the memorial is an awesome project, so I try to donate whenever I can,” Litz said.
North Idaho residents aren’t the only ones with K27 stickers. Some Spokane County sheriff’s patrol and Spokane Police Department vehicles display their support for Moore.
Even Zach Hall, of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Lakeview, Oregon, sports K27 on his vehicle.
Near the California border, Lakeview is almost 600 miles from Coeur d’Alene, but Hall put in a call to Coeur d’Alene’s Illustrated Business Card, which has distributed thousands of the stickers, and had it shipped.
“One of our former deputies down here was there for (Moore’s) funeral and procession, so his truck was rocking a K27 sticker,” said Hall, who grew up in North Idaho. “I saw it and really wanted one because it also represented home.”
The K27 sticker even came up during the jury selection process in Renfro’s trial. The 1,000 potential jurors in the pool, believed to be the biggest in Kootenai County history, were asked if they or anyone they knew had a K27 sticker.
According to the Idaho Peace Officer Memorial, 66 members of Idaho law enforcement have died in the line of duty, 38 due to gunshots.
In 1998, Idaho State Trooper Linda Huff was gunned down in front of the Idaho State Police station in Coeur d’Alene. ISP’s Coeur d’Alene station is now called the Linda Huff Building.
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich praised the city of Coeur d’Alene for its support of its fallen law enforcement officers.
“Tragic situations that don’t normally happen in this region, thank goodness,” Knezovich said. “It’s a testament to that officer, to that community. They’re still mourning and will be for a while.”