Danville rallied last week to express its grief, with police accompanying the funeral processions through town, both to St. Isidore Catholic Church in Danville and to the Oracle Arena. Firefighters positioned their equipment to hoist a flag over Diablo Road on Friday morning for the motorcade with the hearse to drive under it en route to the massive memorial services in Oakland attended by law enforcement from all over the country and Canada. Residents on the sidewalks held their hands over their hearts to honor their fallen resident as the cortege passed by.
Of course his family members and friends knew Romans, a former Marine who had worked for the last 13 years as a police officer in Oakland. But most residents of Danville only heard of him after he lost his life along with three other police officers in the line of duty. Now we have been reading about his career on the police force, during which he worked for several years on the streets of Oakland fighting illegal drugs and associated crimes.
The four officers have been eulogized as heroes after their tragic deaths, who gave their lives in the battle against crime. But Romans had already been recognized as a hero, having received numerous citations in the Marine Corps and with the Oakland Police. In 1996, he received the department's highest honor, the Medal of Valor, for helping to save residents of West Oakland in a fire. Sgt. Romans was a team leader for SWAT, those brave officers who aggressively deal with the most dangerous situations.
Now Danville residents are grieving for a resident most of us never knew. To think that he left his home in Danville for "another day at the office" and never returned is heartbreaking for all of us. But especially for his family and friends, and to them we offer our sincerest condolences.