It has been a bad week for Northern California Police…

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It has been a bad week for Northern California Police Officers. I’ve had a black stripe across my badge all week to pay respects to a brother and sister officer who lost their lives in 2 separate vehicle crashes while in the line of duty.

They say that bad things happen in three’s and this sequence was to be no exception.
The black stripe on my badge will remain in place even longer.

Last Friday night at about midnight the word started to circulate on the police airwaves.
“There was an “11-99” in Dublin, one officer is dead.

You have to be a cop to understand what it means when you hear “11-99”. The official term means Officer down, needs immediate assistance. This is not to be confused with what you see on TV watching “cops” when an officer calls for cover or extra units.

An 11-99 means that an officer is down and at great risk of death. Usually a shooting, stabbing, or beating that has left the officer incapacitated. An “11-99” initiates an immediate code-3 response from Every police agency in a wide perimeter where the incident occurred at it’s not unusual to have 100 cops at an 11-99 within minutes.

As the cop who calls the “99” you hope that everyone can get there in time…
As the cop responding, you notice a pain in your fingers and it’s from gripping the steering wheel with a death grip as you race to the scene hoping for the best. A brother or sister officer is down and all you think about is getting there in time.

At about midnight last Friday night, Alameda County Sheriff’s deputy John Monego responded to a 911 unknown call at a popular steak house within the city that he patrolled. The call came in as a 911 unknown meaning the person who called had dialed and hung up. These are common and we often get a routine thought in our heads that this is going to be just another bogus call.

John’s partner arrived first and she had the dispatcher call inside to contact the manager. A person answered the phone and said that there was no problem inside. This is common to hear because as I said we go to so many of these calls that are bogus.

What none of the cops knew, was that there was a gun to the manager’s head telling him what to say. A gun in the hand, of one of three suspects who were in the middle of a takeover robbery. After hearing that there “was no problem inside” John’s partner went inside to contact the manager and she was taken hostage and they got her gun.

After not hearing “code-4” from his partner, John went inside to check on her and he was ambushed in gunfire before he even made it into the second set of double doors. While down on the ground with bullet wounds, the shooter stood over him and emptied the rest of the clip into his body. I call that nothing short of an execution. The bad guys run. The bad guys get chased. The bad guys get caught.

In the meantime, we all wear a black stripe on our badges remembering our brother Officer John Monego. A 33-year old veteran cop, loving husband, and newly appointed proud “Dad” to 18 month old Dominic.

John’s wife is in law enforcement. We all know as she did, that this could happen to someone we know or love at any given time. I worry about my brother Mark all the time but when I start to get the thought “What would I do if I got the news that… I quickly put it out of my mind. Maybe she did to until now,

What you will see on Friday morning at 11:00am is something that sets police work far apart from any other profession. Thousands and thousands of Police Officers, Firefighters, and Paramedics from across the United States will converge upon the town of Pleasanton to pay respects to a fallen brother officer. A person who they may have not known personally, but someone that they all knew as a brother officer.

There is nothing more emotional than a police funeral. I can’t describe the feeling. You can’t imagine it unless you are there to experience it. When a cop is killed in the line of duty, especially in a violent manner, we are compelled to travel thousands of miles to stand in class-A uniform and salute our fallen comrade a final time, for the contribution that they gave to society. A giving that ended in the ultimate sacrifice.

We are compelled to be there to show the family left behind, that although you lost your
loved one, you are loved by all of us and we will ALWAYS be there for you.

If I was to ever be taken to God’s arms while in the line of duty, I can only hope and pray that my parents, family, and friends would know that I was doing what I chose to do. What I loved to do. In law enforcement or in any emergency public safety job, we accept an inherited risk and that is something that makes the bond so strong. That will be more than evident at John’s service on Friday.

John left us doing what he chose to do. What he trained to do. What he took an oath to do. Most importantly we must remember that John left us doing what he loved to do.

There are so many victims from this tragic display of these three individual’s stupidity and callousness. Patrons in the restaurant will never forget what they saw. John’s wife and little Dominic will survive but never forget their “Hero”. The law enforcement community close to both John and this incident will never forget it.

We commend the person in the restaurant who tried to summon help by dialing 911. I predict that it will promote change in the manner that responses are made to similar incidents.

We commend the restaurant owners of the “Outback Steakhouse” for their very moving and touching offer of donating every dollar made the next night, to John’s memorial fund. That kind of support brings a tear to most cops’ eyes.

I commend the Martin C. Kaufman 100 Club for their generous and appreciated financial donation to the Monego family. The group is also paying for the college tuition of John’s son Dominic. Your support and “being there” for our families does not go unnoticed. God blesses you for the efforts you make within your organization. (The Martin C Kaufman 100 club is a private Alameda County group that provides financial assistance to the families of fallen peace officers and firefighters.)

I salute the Oakland Police department, for doing something as powerful as sending an entire patrol team and squad to cover the streets of Dublin so that Every member of John’s department can attend his service. Thank you Oakland for the high level of class that you’ve always shown.

Finally I’d like to commend Officer John Monego.

John,

You are a highly respected officer whose memory will live on forever. You were a loving husband and father and I know that because of the quality person that you were, you are now in God’s arms watching over the rest of us.

Your leaving us unexpectedly does not go in vain. So many of us think of you when we now respond to a 911 call. It started within hours of your final call.

Whereas before I would hear a solo officer respond alone and tell the dispatcher “I should be code-4, or I’ll advise on cover” all of us are now waiting for a cover unit before going in. We are all remembering what happened that night and realizing that it could be us too.

Aside from the pain of losing you, you have made us remember the harsh reality of
“The inherited risk” we often forget about. That means to me that although you are now with God, your memory will continue to do what you did so well. Your leaving will save other Officer’s lives, as you continue to “Serve and Protect” us with your memory.

God bless you my Partner…and thank you for blessing us.

• Anyone wishing to make a contribution to Officer John Monego’s memorial fund, can do so by sending contributions to the:

Operating Engineers Credit Union
6300 Village Parkway,
Dublin, Ca 94568

You may also call (925) 829-4400

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