First Time At Oakland Policeman’s Funeral

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.

Police Arriving

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.

Police At Attention

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.

Police Presence

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.

Service Underway

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.

Officers Can Respond In The Hills

Last night, I stopped into our Thornhill 7-Eleven on the way home from work.  It was after 11pm or so, and I needed some pita chips and peanuts to make it through the night.

Every so often, I run into police officers around there or the gas station.  It’s been a while since I was complaining about ridiculous gas prices with some cops.  Late Tuesday, I entered the store while cops were picking up their sustenance too – and we discussed the hills scene.

Old 7-Eleven Promotion

These two officers patrol the hills at night, and cover a very large area.  Based on my chat with one policeman, I can say that he seemed really caring and clued into what’s happening around Montclair.  We are concerned about getting things stolen, and he knows all about it – and noted that perps come from Contra Costa as much as Alameda county.

After listening to this officer, two pieces of advice seemed useful to pass along.  First, please call the police with anything you might see that’s suspicious.  Don’t decide it’s “not worth it” because you just never know.  Second, identify who you are and your location.  This makes it easier for police to respond or investigate things.

These police want to help.  While they are short-handed, they generally patrol the main arteries through Montclair.   If someone is snooping around or trying to steal something, the thinking goes that perps will eventually exit down canyon roads like Broadway, Thornhill, Shepherd, Ascot, etc.  (They also patrol based on recommendations from our local North Hills and Montclair neighborhood councils.)

When you have heard noises or spotted a stranger around, no one will accuse you of paranoia for calling the cops.  You may not get instant follow-up, but it still helps to call and fully identify yourself and location – as this improves the chances that your place or block will get checked out.  What’s the downside, really?