Today was the first time we witnessed, first-hand, the funeral respect paid to an Oakland police officer. It’s very heartwarming to watch how the police force honors their officers. Especially on little Thornhill Drive, we saw a massive show of group unity – an emotional and lovely sight.
We were able to snap photos as the procession unfolded for Officer Murray Hoyle, who had been part of the Oakland Police Department for 28 years. Hoyle patrolled our Montclair district for decades, so it was appropriate that Montclair Presbyterian Church hosted his funeral.
The Oakland officers came by car, foot and many gleaming motorcycles. In the beginning of the procession, officers specifically drove to the church in formation. Afterwards, all the motorcycles were lined up in tribute and we lost count of them.
The officers lined the street and all faced south this morning. They were directed from an officer standing on the street, and gave a long salute. In this photo, taken shortly thereafter, you see them waiting at attention for Officer Hoyle’s casket to be carried into the church.
There were so many officers today! We’re guessing that 100-200 officers were present, but aren’t quite sure. More importantly, there was a real karmic energy at this point. The officers were waiting to go inside, following right behind the family and friends.
With the service underway, the street became instantly silent. Everyone had moved into Montclair Presbyterian by then, and we heard that the large sanctuary was filled to capacity. Overflowing officers were able to enter the grounds, though.
It’s hard to understand the lives of Oakland Police officers and the basic stresses that lay-people don’t deal with everyday. Officer Hoyle committed suicide last Saturday, with a single bullet. He was respectful of his fellow officers, and even called and alerted Contra Costa 911 dispatchers beforehand.
It’s also hard to fathom any loss or death, yet the amazing support and tacit understanding from the Oakland Police was fantastic to witness. Cops’ lives are special ones, and their common bonds were beautifully displayed during this morning’s ceremony.