LANSING, Mich.– A bill honoring Kalamazoo Public Safety Officer Eric Zapata, exactly two years after his death, is only one step away from being passed.
The Senate Bill 108 will name the portion of Interstate 94 located in Kalamazoo County the “Officer Eric Zapata Memorial Highway.”
The House of Representatives voted unanimously on Thursday to send the bill over to the governor for a last signature.
Officer Zapata was killed in the line of duty on April 18, 2011 while rushing to protect residents of the Edison neighborhood in Kalamazoo. After responding to a shots fired call on Hays Park Avenue, Zapata was mortally wounded just after 11 p.m.
According to Representative Margaret O’Brien, who helped ensure the bill’s passage in the House, “Officer Eric Zapata was a father, son, brother, friend and community servant. While we reflect on the second anniversary of Officer Zapata’s ultimate sacrifice, I pray we will honor his life and help future generations understand the importance of Officer Zapata’s heroism. As millions of people drive along I-94 in Kalamazoo County, they will be able to see how much our community cherishes Officer Zapata.”
Zapata was a father of three and a 10 year veteran of the Kalamazoo Public Safety Department. He also was a mentor for Kalamazoo Public Schools and taught martial arts to local youth.
The Officer Eric Zapata Memorial Highway will run 25 miles from Charleston Township’s east border to Texas Township’s west side. The bill is still awaiting the governor’s signature.