Volunteers help Oakland dispatchers grieve

March 26, 2009 1:26:02 PM PDT
Law enforcement dispatchers from around the state are in Oakland - helping with the workload to give Oakland dispatchers time to deal with the emotional impact from the weekend shootings that killed four Oakland police officers.SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you from ABC7 News

In a room where life and death calls come in on a daily basis you'll find dispatchers from Eureka, Los Angeles, and all over the Bay Area. These folks know what a shock it is to lose one officer on the job - let alone four. So when the emergency call went out for dispatcher backup - these folks responded.

Carol Bradanini was an emergency dispatcher in Fremont for 35 years before retiring a few years ago to spend time with her husband, a retired police sergeant. This tragedy brought her out of retirement.

"Police is family and when the call came out that the dispatchers were needing some time off - there was no question that I would come here," said Bradanini.

From Eurkeka to Chino and from all over the Bay Area, dispatchers have come so Oakland dispatchers have the room and the time to grieve.

"For me, I knew all four officers and worked with all of them closely, so it allows us to take a moment where we can leave the floor and if we have to cry - we cry," said April McFadden, police communications supervisor.

Some dispatchers, still in shock, just can't come back to work yet. Others insist on reporting for duty. Shortly after the shootings, the State Tactical Dispatchers Association put out the call for some backup.

"The response was overwhelming; we've probably had over 500 emails and phone calls from all over the state trying to fill this place and let them try and deal with what they are going through," said Kurt Anderson, president, Tactical Dispatchers Association.

Todd Austin is a dispatcher who responded from Los Angeles.

"We lost a SWAT officer in a tactical situation about six months ago and we are still recovering from that - so when we heard the news about this - it hit close to home and we were immediately ready to come to the aid of Oakland," said Austin.

Letters of sympathy and support have come in from all around the world. Flowers and food have come in as well. But there's something special about a member of the family being there for you in the flesh.

"The love and support that we have gotten from everybody has helped with the healing process and will continue to help, but there are just not enough words to say thank you for what they have done for us," said McFadden.

McFadden has said that because of the help from around the state, there has been no backup at the 911 communications call center.

On Friday, the CHP and the Alameda County Sherriff's department will patrol the streets - so the Oakland police can honor their fallen brothers.

Trust fund information for fallen officers' families

Trust funds have been established for the officers shot to death on March 21, 2009, in Oakland. People who wish to make contributions to the funds have two options:

1. Individual Checks made out to families and mailed to c/o OPOA:
Attn: Rennee Hassna
555 5th Street
Oakland Ca, 94607

Checks should be made out to the following:
a. Dunakin Children's Family Trust
b. Romans Children's Family Trust
c. Sakai Family Trust

2. Wire transfers directly to Merrill Lynch Accounts:
a. Dunakin Children's Family Trust a/c #204-04065
b. Romans Children's Family Trust a/c #204-04066
c. Sakai Family Trust a/c #204-04064

John Hege's wishes include donations to any of the following beneficiaries:

  • Oakland Police Emergency Net (OPEN)
    555 5th Street
    Oakland, CA 94607
    Attn: Renee Hassna (please put John Hege's name in the memo)

  • Piedmont Council Inc.
    Boy Scouts of America
    10 Highland Way
    Piedmont, CA 94611

  • Orme School of Arizona
    HC63 Box 3040
    Mayer, AZ 86333

  • or any other donation in John's name.
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