|October 5, 2015 • VOL. 53, NO. 17 • Oakland, CA|
| Blue Mass honors police,
The Pittsburg Police Department honor guard participates in city events such as Veterans Day and Memorial Day observances, and at the opening day of the baseball season.
Pittsburg's own department has experienced two line-of-duty deaths over the last dozen years.
On Oct. 9, at 10 a.m., the Pittsburg Police Department Honor Guard will take its place at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, for the annual Blue Mass. Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, will celebrate the Mass, which honors law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency response personnel who live or serve in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, and asks God's blessing on them.
In addition, there will be a remembrance of those who have lost their lives in the service of others.
The Oakland Fire Department is expected, as it has done in years past, to park two ladder trucks on Harrison Street in front of the cathedral, and hang an American flag between them during the Mass.
Pittsburg's honor guard team numbers about 10, with four on duty. Officer Heidi Maguire, a 9½-year veteran of the force, said, that as one of the shorter members, she usually carries the California flag in the guard. Other members carry the American flag and rifles.
She has participated twice in the Blue Mass, finding that it places law enforcement in a "positive light."
Daily life doesn't always see it as such.
A police officer's day depends on your assignment. "As a patrol officer, you never really know," she said.
As a school resource officer in the city's junior high and continuation high school, Maguire works to "build relationships with youth and handle incidents that may or may not be criminal so patrol doesn't have to break from their routine."
Her involvement in a running and fitness club at the high school helps "foster relationships between law enforcement and youth."
Although she will miss this year's Blue Mass, Maguire finds "there's something about its energy."
A retiree from her department, she said, summed it up nicely: There's a silent majority thankful for law enforcement. You have to listen a little harder to hear them.
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