Oakland police say they are overwhelmed and touched by the outpouring of support in the wake of the deaths of four of the city's officers.
Law enforcement officials from around the country and Canada are among thousands attending Friday morning's funeral services at Oracle Arena to honor the fallen men. Officials said officers and other police employees would be bused to the arena starting around 8 a.m., three hours before the services are expected to begin.
Authorities say the officers were gunned down last weekend by a parolee evading a traffic stop.
STAND-IN PATROLS ALLOW HOMETOWN COPS TO ATTEND FUNERAL
Oakland streets will be patrolled by other law enforcement agencies today to allow the city's officers to attend funerals for four fallen colleagues.
All 815 members of the Oakland police department have been given permission to go the ceremony at Oracle Arena honoring the four men. Authorities say they were gunned down last weekend by a parolee evading a traffic stop.
The Alameda County Sheriff's Office, the California Highway Patrol and city and regional agencies will cover the department for much of the day.
ORANGE COUNTY OFFICERS HEAD NORTH IN CARAVAN
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Up to 40 officers from a half dozen or so police agencies left the Orange County fairgrounds on Thursday afternoon, on a 6 1/2-hour drive over a distance of more than 400 miles, said Costa Mesa police Officer Allen Rieckhof, president of the Costa Mesa Police Association.
A contingent of motorcycle officers from the Orange County Sheriff's Department traveled separately, he said.
"We are deeply saddened by this horrible event," Rieckhof said of Saturday's shootout in Oakland that claimed the lives of Sgts. Mark Dunakin, 40, Ervin Romans, 43, and Daniel Sakai, 35, as well as motorcycle Officer John Hege, 41.
Two of the men were motorcycle officers who had pulled over parolee Lovelle Mixon in a traffic stop and two members of a SWAT team that tracked him down and were killed in a shootout.
As many as 18,000 people are expected at the public funeral.
"Our goal is to band together and caravan in unity to the Oakland area in order to support our extended Oakland police family," Rieckhof said.
The multiple deaths of the Oakland officers hit home for the Costa Mesa Police Department, which lost Officers James D. Ketchum and John W. Libolt on March 10, 1987.
The men, along with civilian observer, Jeffrey Pollard, were pursuing a stolen vehicle in a helicopter when it collided with a Newport Beach police chopper.
The Costa Mesa helicopter exploded in flames after crashing in Bonita Canyon in Irvine. The Newport Beach craft went down about 200 yards away, injuring two officers aboard, according to the police memorial web site.