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Saturday, February 23 , 2019, 2:17 pm | A Few Clouds 58º


Brown, Willis Lead Local Force at Funeral for Slain Oakland Police Officers

South Coast delegation joins 12,000 fellow officers at memorial for four gunned down in the line of duty

In a show of support for fallen brothers in arms, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, Goleta police Chief Phil Willis and a number of South Coast law-enforcement officers were in Oakland on Friday to pay tribute to four Oakland police officers slain last weekend in California’s deadliest police violence in nearly 40 years.

Brown was leading a Sheriff’s Department delegation of 14 officers from the Special Enforcement Team, Honor Guard, Goleta Traffic, Courts, Criminal Investigation Division, Special Operations Division and North County Patrol, said Drew Sugars a department spokesman.

Willis, representing the city of Goleta, was joined by Sgt. Kevin Huddle, motor traffic unit supervisor, and Deputy Jeff Farmer, a motor officer. The Santa Barbara Police Department had at least four officers in attendance.

The Oakland police shootings hit close to home for Goleta Mayor Roger Aceves, who retired from the Santa Barbara police force in 2007 and also had been a sheriff’s deputy.

“Our city, like all cities in the state and throughout the country, is mourning the loss of the four officers slain in Oakland,” Aceves told Noozhawk. “We are honored to be able to participate in the memorial and share in the spirit of their bravery and honor that they displayed as police officers, and as respected men in their community.

“As a retired law enforcement officer with over 31 years of service, the loss of one officer anywhere is a loss to all of us everywhere. We are a strong community. And it is in community where the healing process will begin. We are proud to be able to show our support to the families of the law enforcement officers at this time.”

As part of Friday’s tribute, flags were flown at half-staff at Goleta city facilities, Goleta spokeswoman Kirsten Deshler said.

The city of Carpinteria has flown its flags at half-staff all week.

On Monday, Carpinteria City Councilman Joe Armendariz said the Oakland shootings were a reminder that “certain functions of our state and local government must always remain an absolute top priority — law enforcement and public safety should be at the top of the list.”

“I hope you will keep these officers’ families in your thoughts and prayers and will take some time to consider the sacrifice they made and the sacrifice our own local deputies make on our behalf, each and every day,” he said.

More than 12,000 police officers, from all 50 states, converged on Oakland for Friday’s funeral of the four officers killed by a parolee in related shooting incidents March 21. All 815 members of the Oakland Police Department attended the funeral while deputies and officers from more than a dozen state and Bay Area law enforcement agencies patrolled the city.

Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, of Tracy, and Officer John Hege, 41, of Concord, were shot after they pulled over 26-year-old Lovelle Mixon for a traffic stop. Investigators said the wanted parolee opened fire on the motorcycle officers almost immediately, before fleeing to a nearby apartment. Dunakin died at the scene; Hege was declared brain-dead Sunday and taken off life support Monday.

After a two-hour manhunt, officers located Mixon, who opened fire with an assault rifle as a SWAT team stormed the apartment where he was hiding. Sgts. Ervin Romans, 43, of Danville, and Daniel Sakai, 35, of Castro Valley, were killed. Mixon was also shot to death.

The violence was among the worst of its kind since 1970, when four California Highway Patrol officers were killed in a shootout in Newhall.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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