Coming from departments all across the Central Valley, police officers joined with the Oakdale Police Department for a solemn funeral procession on Friday morning, mourning one of their own.
Leaving from the department’s North Second Avenue location, the procession wound around North Second to D Street, then turned on to Yosemite Avenue where it headed south toward Lakewood Memorial Park. There, the funeral for fallen officer Paul Katuszonek was scheduled.
The five-year veteran officer of the department was killed when a semi-truck ran into the back of his vehicle, stopped for highway construction along Highway 132 on Thursday, Nov. 8. He left behind a wife and one-year-old daughter.
As a misty rain fell on Friday, the flashing lights of the various police vehicles cut through the gray and officers from multiple departments came to support the Oakdale officers.
“You can see how many are here,” Police Chief Lester Jenkins said as the procession was forming up. “I can’t tell you exact numbers, but there are a lot.”
Units from Turlock, Modesto, Ceres, Newman, Gustine, Livermore and Manteca Police, along with the CHP and the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department were among those sending units.
On the corner of Third and D, more than three dozen children from the House of Tykes preschool stood with their teachers, raising small American flags as the procession went by.
“The children don’t really know what it’s all about but the teachers do, and we wanted to be here,” said school director Stacy Brown.
Look for additional coverage of this event in the Wednesday, Nov. 21 issue of The Oakdale Leader.