It has been a very somber week in Dallas, as thousands of people from across the nation have come to pay their respects to the five officers killed in last week’s ambush by a lone gunman. And in the sea of law enforcement are members of Oklahoma honor guards, wanting to pay tribute to the officers who paid the ultimate price.
Sgt. Cody Koelsch is one of them. He will be heading down to Dallas Saturday, to help with the funeral for Officer Patrick Zamarripa.
“Law enforcement is such a brotherhood,” said Koelsch. “Just to go down there to be with the other officers - and show our respects. And basically show the family that we may be from Oklahoma, but we're still family - we're still thinking of you.”
On the Oklahoma City Police Department Facebook page, there are pictures of some of the other honor guard members who were present at the funerals that took place all this week for Dallas Police Officers Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Smith, and DART Officer Brent Thompson.
“Chief Citty authorized and he himself requested that the honor guard members go to every funeral in Dallas,” said Captain Paco Balderrama, who is in charge of the OCPD honor guard. “So for the past few days we've been sending teams - they usually go down attend the funeral and come right back.”
The Oklahoma City Police Department Honor Guard is a specialized unit that attends various ceremonies and events including funerals, graduations, and memorials in Oklahoma. They are the officers who present the colors, perform Taps, and often are part of the firing line that presents the 21-gun Salute and Radio last call.
“They've been going down there to really show their support pay their respects,” said Balderrama. “And just to be there to be there for the community to be there for the police department down in Dallas and to let them know that we care and that we're supporting them.
Anywhere from three to six members of the OCPD Honor Guard have been in attendance at every one of the Dallas police funerals so far. Members of the Edmond Police Department Honor Guard were also in Dallas to pay their respects. Images of their visit are being shared on their Facebook page.
Sgt. Koelsch said their honor guard members have covered their share of painful goodbyes, but none quite like this.
“You're finally down there with people who understand you, having those same feelings,” said Koelsch.
Now, Koelsch will be one of hundreds of officers gathering together to stand watch over the Zamarippa family, as they mourn and say their final goodbyes to Dallas Police Officer Patrick Zamarippa. His funeral will be at 11 a.m., at the Wilerson-Greines Athlectic Complex in Fort Worth.
Koelsch said members of the Tulsa Police Department Honor Guard have also attended the funerals for the other fallen Dallas officers earlier this week.