Mourning Bands

March 31, 2009 at 4:18 am (Life)

Following the recent tragedy in Oakland, I have been asked about the symbolism behind the black mourning band worn across the badge following a police officer’s death.  Well, I found a wonderful article written by  Paul R. Villanueva on this very subject.

The business world does not recognize mourning in the workplace very well. Once we bury our loved one, we are expected to go back to our jobs to continue, as if we were unchanged by their death.   We do not see widows wearing black clothing in the business world, and men certainly do not mourn in public. A universally accepted time allotment for mourning is not recognized. When is it enough? When is it too soon to stop? 

Yet, there are some job cultures that do recognize a person’s mourning. I belong to a job culture in the law enforcement world, which allows for the public display of mourning for the loss of a brother or sister in law enforcement. 

A friend of mine had recently been promoted to the rank of Police Detective. He had a wife, son, and a brand new baby girl. He was assigned to uniform patrol after his promotion and was working a beat in a police car. He and another officer responded to a routine loud music complaint. During the course of this investigation, he was fatally shot. Several years prior, my department lost another officer. She had been employed with the department for about 18 months when she was struck and killed by a drunk driver.  Both of these funerals were grandiose, and my law enforcement organization spared no expense in memorializing these fallen officers. 

When a peace officer dies in the line of duty, law enforcement officers are allowed to wear a black cloth band across their badge, shield or star. These are called mourning bands, and they tell everyone a brother or sister has died in the line of duty.  The public display of the mourning band shouts to others, “Tread lightly, because a police officer or deputy has been killed, and I am sad.”  The American flag at various police stations are flown at half-mast and a feeling of sadness, soberness, and mortality fills the air. Employees will be allowed to mourn the loss of a hero. Counseling will be provided for those experiencing difficulties with the death. Sensitivity and kindness abound. 

The rest of the article can be read here



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Happy Birthday

March 31, 2009 at 3:33 am (Fun Stuff, Life) ()

sparkle -

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March 30, 2009 at 7:19 am (Fun Stuff, Issues, Life, School) (, , , , , )

It is midnight-twenty. I usually don’t go to bed this early, but I was bored and didn’t have anything to do tonight. So here I am lying in bed, still bored and now unable to sleep. It doesn’t help that it is crazy windy out (apparently gusting up to 60mph)!!!

Let’s see…

  • I got the cell signal booster. It seems to work ok. The signal certainly isn’t perfect and it degrades pretty quickly outside my room, but at least it works. This will be really nice, so that we all aren’t trying to share one line, and now I can always be reached at the same number.
  • I had a paper due in one of my classes this week, but none of the students got the instructions (it’s an online class and the assignment was never posted). So, we are all just waiting for that… Also, I have 101.22% in this class (yay me) so I’m not too worried.
  • Japanese cherry blossom is my new favorite lotion scent from Bath and Body Works. (by the way, if you pay attention, you can get some super good deals there; you just have to time your purchases and be willing to stock up when they have the really good deals)
  • The iPod Touch is really the best modern invention (this post was written on my iPod…) though I do wish I had one with a bit more memory.
  • My birthday is tomorrow. I’ll be 20. (note to self: up date the about me portion of this blog) I don’t really have anything special planned, which is a little disappointing. But oh well. Maybe I’ll make a cake.
  • My dog takes up way more than half my bed. But she refuses to be next to the wall.
  • At the end of April, I’ll be visiting family in Minnesota. I’m looking forward to this trip, but I also feel a little bad for asking my parents to pay for such a random trip.
  • I have to write two essays in the morning. I’ve been putting this off for months now and they’re due April 1, so I guess there’s no more putting it off… I also have to have my fingerprints taken for an internship I’ve applied for.

I’m still not all that tired, but I can’t think of anything else to write about and my iPod needs to be recharged…

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Rest in Peace

March 22, 2009 at 8:43 pm (Life) (, , , , , , , )

Sergeant Mark Dunakin 

Oakland Police Department California

End of Watch: Saturday, March 21, 2009

Age: 40
Tour of Duty: 17 years

Sergeant Dunakin had served with the Oakland Police Department for 17 years and is survived by his wife and three children.



Sergeant Ervin Romans 

Oakland Police Department California
End of Watch: Saturday, March 21, 2009

Age: 43
Tour of Duty: 13 years




Sergeant Daniel Sakai 

Oakland Police Department California
End of Watch: Saturday, March 21, 2009

Age: 35
Tour of Duty: 8 years




Police Officer John Hege 

Oakland Police Department California
End of Watch: Sunday, March 22, 2009

Age: 41



Incident Details
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Saturday, March 21, 2009
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: Killed by other officers

Sergeant Mark Dunakin and Officer John Hege were shot and killed during a traffic stop at 74th Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard. During the stop, the driver opened fire, killing Sergeant Dunakin and mortally wounding Officer Hege. Citizens who witnessed the incident called 911 and started CPR on both officers.

The suspect fled on foot, leading to an intense manhunt by dozens of officers from the Oakland Police Department, California Highway Patrol and Alameda County Sheriff’s Department.

At approximately 3:30 pm the Oakland Police Department received an anonymous tip that the suspect was barricaded inside an apartment building on 74th Avenue.

Officers first attempted to negotiate with the suspect, but when that failed a SWAT team was sent into the location to apprehend the suspect. As the SWAT officers approached, the suspect opened fired with a rifle, killing Sergeant Ervin Romans and Sergeant Daniel Sakai, and wounding a third officer. Officers returned fire, killing the 26-year-old male suspect.

It was later determined that the suspect had an extensive violent criminal history and was on parole for assault with a deadly weapon. At the time of the incident he had a no-bail parole warrant.
(information from the Officer Down Memorial Page)

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Officers Down In Oakland.

March 22, 2009 at 4:43 am (Life) (, , , , )

Today, four officers were shot in Oakland in two related incidents.

Sgt. Erv Romans, 43, was killed.

Sgt. Dan Sakai, 35, was killed.

Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 41, was killed.

Officer John Hege, 41, remains in critical condition. Some sources have stated that he too died of his injuries, however, the most current press release from OPD states that he remains in “very critical” condition.

A fifth officer was reportedly grazed by a bullet in the altercation, but was treated and released.

The altercation began when officers discovered that the suspect had a no bail warrant for grand theft and possession of marijuana. The suspect fled the scene and was located later by OPD’s SWAT team. The suspect was shot and killed.

Rest in Peace sirs. You will not be forgotten.

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Amazing Video

March 18, 2009 at 9:34 pm (Fun Stuff, Pets) (, , , )

What happens when you have a couple (very) well trained dogs, a ton of sheep, LED lights, and a video camera?  Enjoy!

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Mackey wins the Iditarod!

March 18, 2009 at 8:31 pm (Fun Stuff) (, , )

At 11:38am Lance Mackey won his third straight Iditarod.  He finished with 15 dogs in 9 days, 21 hours, 38 minutes, and 46 seconds.

From the Associated Press:

Make it three Iditarods in a row for Lance Mackey.

The musher from Fairbanks won the 1,100-mile trek across the wilderness Wednesday in the world’s most famous sled dog race. And it wasn’t even close.

Mackey slapped hands with fans along Nome’s Front Street and was mobbed by family members after crossing under the city’s famed burled arch at 11:38 a.m., hours ahead of his nearest competitors.

Immediatley after winning, he gave treats to his dogs.

“This never gets old,” he said at the finish line, hugging two of his dogs.

“It’s pretty awesome,” he added. “Pretty cool.”

He commended his “little superstar Maple,” a 3-year-old female who was in the lead for much of the last part of the race.

Mackey was about six hours ahead of the second- and third-place mushers, Sebastian Schnuelle of Canada and John Baker of Kotzebue. He increased his lead along the wind-swept western coast of Alaska.

Fierce, biting winds blew in off the Bering Sea, forcing temperatures to 50 below zero. Many mushers waited out the storm in checkpoints farther back.

Mackey became the third musher in the race’s 37-year history to win in three consecutive years, joining Susan Butcher (1986-88) and Doug Swingley (1999-01).

In Mackey’s two previous victories, he headed into the Iditarod about two weeks after winning the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, considered to a tougher race than the Alaska comptition.

Mackey didn’t run the Yukon Quest this year, choosing instead to train an Alaska Native musher for the Iditarod.

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Iditarod Update

March 16, 2009 at 4:59 pm (Fun Stuff) (, , )

Baring a storm (which did happen in 95), it looks like Lance Mackey is on his way to a third win. He has fewer than 170 miles left.

1 Lance Mackey out of Shaktoolik (Shak-TOO-lick), 960 miles from Anchorage

2 Sebastian Schnuelle out if Unalakleet (YOU-na-la-kleet), 902 miles form Anchorage

3 Jeff King out if Unalakleet (YOU-na-la-kleet), 902 miles form Anchorage

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Touch the Top of the World

March 15, 2009 at 4:40 am (Fun Stuff) (, , )

Several years ago, I read a wonderful book called Touch the Top of the World.  It is the autobiography of Erik Weihenmayer.  Who was the first blind man to summit Mount Everest.  It is a wonderful story.  And it was recently made into a movie.  We’re watching the movie right now, but so far, it is really good and well done.  So, if you don’t want to read the book, go rent the movie.

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Spring Break!!!!!!!

March 14, 2009 at 3:24 am (Fun Stuff, Spring Break) (, )

YAAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  A whole week without school!!!!!!!!!!!  No tests, no assignments, no boring classes!!!!!!!!! (I do have a paper to write, but thats not a huge deal…) 


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