Manteca Police – just like the rest of the country – had no idea how wide-spread the terrorist attacks were on America 10 years ago when the World Trade Center was destroyed by two hijacked airlines.
In the minutes that followed the second plane striking the tower, Manteca Police had activated its SWAT team. And the entire next shift of police officers - including others who weren’t supposed to work - showed up four hours ahead of time without one officer being asked to do so.
“It was crazy,” said Manteca Police Dave Bricker, who was a captain 10 years ago. “Police are supposed to write parking tickets and handle barking dog complaints.”
Bricker was among those who shared their thoughts on Sept. 11, 2001 during Manteca‘s council meeting Tuesday at the urging of Mayor Willie Weatherford.
Bricker said he never dreamed that the day would come that he’d be training officers in the use of equipment in the event of a biological terrorist attack. After the terrorist attacks, Homeland Security was formed and law enforcement agencies across the country were provided equipment and training to handle various terrorist attack scenarios.
Councilwoman Debby Moorhead, who was a board member of the Manteca Chamber of Commerce at the time, shared how it prompted then executive director Joe Pellegrino to come up with Flags over Manteca. The flags have now become the business group’s signature project. They use volunteers to place 2,400 flags that were paid for with $60,000 raised in less than two months in early 2002.
Moorhead said they have been inundated with people who want to help place flags on Sunday to mark the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11.
“We are encouraging anyone to show up who wants to help and we’ll make sure they have flags to place,” Moorhead said.
The volunteers gather before 6 a.m. at the corner of Yosemite and Main for the flag distribution.
Councilman Vince Hernandez said his youngest son was born just a month prior.
Like many parents, he was overcome with worry what the future held for his children. He credits the terrorist attacks for prompting his decision to run for council. Hernandez noted that he felt it was important after Sept. 11 to give back to your community and country.