Friday, March 27, 2009
John Hege - Oakland Police Officer Killed in Line of Duty
It's unusual for this site to post something about a person who just died, but this seems like a special circumstance. Officer Hege was one of four members of the Oakland Police Department killed by a single parolee.
By Kelly Rayburn
John R. Hege enjoyed riding motorcycles, collecting sports memorabilia, skiing, trout fishing and coaching and officiating prep sports.
And he loved being a cop.
"It fit very will into his life," said John S. Hege, his father. "And he was very good at it."
The younger Hege, 41, of Concord, was one of four Oakland police officers killed in related shootings in East Oakland on Saturday. He was buried at Mountain View Cemetery after a service for all four officers at Oracle Arena.
Hege, a 10-year veteran of the department, was described as someone who would be the first to respond to a radio call to assist another officer, a cop who kept an even keel interacting with people while policing the streets of Oakland.
"There are ways to talk to people," said Officer Jeff Thomason, the department spokesman. "And he knew how to do it."
Hege attended Wildwood Elementary School, Piedmont Middle School and Piedmont High before transferring to The Orme School, a boarding school in Arizona where he wrestled and played football, graduating in 1986. He earned a degree from Saint Mary's College in Moraga in 1990.
He taught physical education at Tennyson High School in Hayward, and coached and officiated prep sports. He served as a reserve officer for the Oakland Police Department from 1993 until 1999, when he joined the department full time. Fresh out of training, he worked the graveyard shift in an area of Oakland stretching from High Street to 82nd Avenue. He had long wanted to be a motorcycle cop.
He transferred to the motor division March 7, though he had completed training for that position earlier, Thomason said. The holdup was that Hege was also a field training officer, training incoming officers in a time when the department dramatically increased its staffing.
"He was getting ready to be transferred," Thomason said, "but he was a field training officer, so it went against him (to transfer) because he needed to be there to train all these new rookies."
Thomason worked East Oakland with Hege early in their careers. When Thomason changed units, he and Hege kept in regular contact.
They spoke about once a week, Thomason said. Thomason and his wife would often meet Hege for Thursday night concerts at Todos Santos Park in Concord, or for dinner. Sometimes they'd go to I Love Teriyaki & Sushi, one of Hege's favorite spots.
Hege was single and had no children. He lived with his dog, Bosco, who will be adopted by neighbors.
His parents, in Piedmont, would sometimes catch their son on the television news after a drug bust or some other police story.
"We were certainly aware of the risks, and I'm sure he was aware of the risks," said the elder Hege, a retired physician. "You never really think that's going to come home. You figure it's going to be someone else. "... I'm sure this caught him completely unaware."
Hege was an organ donor, and the California Transplant Donor Network said this week his organs will save four lives.
Posted by Michael at 6:28 AM