Left to Right:
Sergeant Daniel Sakai - End of Watch: March 21, 2009
Sergeant Ervin Romans - End of Watch: March 21, 2009
Sergeant Mark Dunakin - End of Watch: March 21, 2009
Police Officer John Hege - End of Watch: March 24, 2009 (organ donor)
As many of my readers are aware, our family has the unfortunate distinction of being surviving family of a fallen law enforcement officer. My cousin Michelle's hubby, CHP Lt Michael Walker, was killed in the line of duty on 12.31.05 in a traffic accident. He and his partner had stopped to assist a car on the side of the road, and the scene was struck by a driver who was driving too fast for road conditions on that rainy New Year night. Mike and the driver of the vehicle who struck the scene were both killed in the accident. Alcohol was NOT a factor.
Tomorrow, Michelle will attend the funeral of the officers killed in that horrific incident in Oakland, California. Four officers of the Oakland PD were killed in the line of duty while trying to apprehend a suspect recently released from jail who had a no bail parole warrant out on him. Rather than go to jail, this individual made a choice to take the lives of others.
These officers were sons, husbands, fathers, brothers, best friends...the list goes on and on. That day, March 21, 2009, forever changed the lives of countless individuals. Children are without fathers, wives without husbands, parents without children. Going to work every day meant putting their lives on the line to keep citizens in their communities safe from individuals like Mr. Mixon. The officers on the scene of this tragedy will have to live with this for the rest of their lives.
Michelle has chosen to attend the ceremony to support the families of the fallen and for a number of other personal reasons. As I watched a newscast over the web about the events that will take place tomorrow, it brought back many memories of my own experience. The families of these fallen officers must now live in the aftermath of the decision of one individual to maliciously cause harm to their loved one.
As you pass police officers in and out of your community, be sure to send them a nod of appreciation for the sacrifice and risk they take to keep you safe. Please keep all individuals involved in this tragedy in your thoughts. The road ahead for them is long, the path to follow not determined by any one roadmap, yet a series of individual roadmaps as each person follows their own journey.