Last Friday 25,000 people (the majority were police) attended a three-hour memorial service for these four slain Oakland Police Officers, murdered on March 21. It was an unprecedented show of support for police. Such support is all too often only shown for law enforcement when one of us is killed in the line of duty.
Police officers from throughout the United States and Canada came to Oakland to honor their fallen brothers in blue. Hundreds of police motorcycles, 20 police helicopters in missing man flyover formations, firefighters, dignitaries, concerned citizens, and friends were there to support the families of these four brave men.
All 815 officers of the Oakland Police Department were in attendance – thanks to the generosity of more than a dozen other law enforcement agencies who took over all police functions so all of OPD could attend the funeral.
The entire Bay Area ground to a near halt, as millions also watched the service live on local TV stations.
From the many eulogies given by family, friends, and fellow officers. We learned how special each of the deceased officers was to so many people. We cried, then laughed hearing story after story, and in the end we almost felt we knew each officer as a friend.
Most of us have attended police funerals, and know that even one funeral is one too many. We know the gamut of raw emotions that fill us with sadness, anger, reflection, and resolve.
To see four flagged-draped caskets together took our breath away. To see the somber, saddened faces of the families and fellow officers was gut-wrenching beyond words. To see how the OPD Honor Guard, along with the entire OPD honored their four fallen brother officers filled us with pride for OPD and our noble profession.
Chills run down my spine as I write and reflect upon this terrible tragedy. However, I know what all of you know also. That this tragedy, and all the other tragedies that befall law enforcement, will never break our spirit.
The exact opposite happens at a time like this. Our resolve to prevail over evil strengthens, and our family becomes all the more tight and determined. We are America’s thin blue line–protecting society against the evil that took the lives of these four fine Oakland Police Officers–far too early in life.
How we honor them and all of our thousands of fallen brothers and sisters is to continue to do our job to the utmost of our ability with dignity and honor, no matter the obstacles. We are the thin blue line, and if we don’t do the job of protecting society, no one will.
The Oakland Police murders have resulted in an unprecedented wave of support for OPD and all police, not seen since 9/11.
Remember how many people thought the outpouring of support for law enforcement and firefighters would go on forever those first few days after 9/11? But that support quickly faded and all too soon it was back to business as usual?
For all the support that OPD and the four slain officers are receiving now, there is a small hardcore element of cop haters who literally “celebrated” the officers deaths, claiming “retribution” for the Jan. 1 fatal shooting of an unarmed man on a local commuter train that resulted in two riots in Oakland. These same cop-haters held their own counter-vigil to “honor” the “monster” who murdered the four Oakland officers.
Oakland is a city in big trouble. The battle lines drawn long ago have been hardened after each “controversial” police use of force. I suspect Oakland is little different from other cities across this nation. The pendulum of who to support has been swinging wildly between the extremes of good and evil.
Right now, OPD has the fullest support of 99 percent of the population. The question is how long will this support last? For the answer, ask NYPD how long their support lasted after 9/11.
What’s next for OPD? Once the dust settles, expect a wide range of police and non-police “experts” (some legit, some not) to come out with their theories and solutions to prevent another “Oakland” from ever happening again.
OPD and other reputable experts will thoroughly analyze how and why this tragedy happened and will offer their solutions that all of law enforcement will study.
But now is the time to grieve Oakland’s faller four and honor all fallen law enforcement officers everywhere. However, those of you who are active law enforcement have no such luxury, as you must “serve and protect” 24/7.