DIAMOND BAR (CNS) - Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department motorcycle Deputy Thomas Albanese, who was killed in a collision in a Lakewood intersection last month while attempting to make a traffic stop, was eulogized today as a man who loved his job.
Albanese, 41, a seven-year veteran of the department and married father of 7- and 11-year-old sons, was attempting to pull over a black sedan just before 9 a.m. Feb. 25 when he was killed at Paramount and Del Amo boulevards.
Albanese was northbound on Paramount Boulevard when a silver Mercedes-Benz, which was westbound on Del Amo Boulevard, struck him in the intersection. He was thrown from his bike and died at the scene.
A U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served four tours of duty in Iraq, Albanese joined the sheriff's department in July 2013 and became a deputy two years later. He held assignments at the Men's Central Jail, Transit Services Bureau and at the Lakewood station as a field training officer and achieved his dream of becoming a motorcycle deputy. At the time of his death, he was assigned to the Pico Rivera station.
A motorcade of law enforcement vehicles, led by motorcycles, arrived at the Calvary Chapel Golden Springs in Diamond Bar about 10:30 this morning and Albanese's flag-draped casket was escorted, along with his family, into the chapel as lines of deputies stood at attention.
Villanueva was among those who spoke to the attendees.
“It's been a tough time in law enforcement,'' he said. “There are people screaming at the tops of their lungs that cops are bad, and the less of us the better society is. And I say to all those -- not even close. The world is a better place because of people like Tom; because of everyone who wears this badge, wears a uniform, serves their nation, serves their community with pride, with honor. We screw up now and then, and we gotta own up to it, and we move on -- that's our job. But leave no doubt about it; we're better off, because that's what we do.''
David Albanese spoke the mourners about his son, who joined the Marines like his father had.
“Tom made quite a mark,'' Albanese said. “I heard somebody say up here he followed in my footsteps. He might have started out (following) my own footsteps, but he made his own path, and I've always been very proud of him. ... He was so happy, and so proud to be a deputy. I did a ride-along with the man. I really enjoyed it. I was really proud to be with him that day.''
A procession was planned after the service to Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier for a private graveside service.
Following his death, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered flags at the State Capitol to be flown at half-staff in honor of Albanese.
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