LANSING — A bill winding its way through the Michigan Senate would allow court officers, including the late Joseph Zangaro and Ronald Kienzle, to be recognized at the state level for their heroism.

Zangaro, security supervisor at the Berrien County Courthouse, and Kienzle, a court officer, were shot and killed by a jail inmate inside the courthouse in 2016. Zangaro had previously served as a Michigan state police officer for 25 years and Kienzle was retired from the Benton Township Police Department.  

Zangaro’s and Kienzle’s names are included on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. But due to a discrepancy in Michigan law, they are not included on Michigan’s monument.

Senate Bill 321, sponsored by Sen. Kim LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township, would correct the discrepancy in the current law to allow the names of Zangaro and Kienzle to be added to the Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Monument. It would align the Michigan monument standard with the national memorial standard to include court officers and corrections officers who died in the line of duty.

The bill was approved Thursday by the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, and now advances to the Senate floor for further consideration.

“My bill allows for these local heroes, along with 19 others and any future court officers who sacrifice their lives, to be properly honored by the state they served,” LaSata said in a news release. “I thank the members of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee for their support and am hopeful the bill advances quickly.”