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Tracy motor officers salute retiring lieutenant
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A Tracy police car right out of the 1950s made it to Ripon in the morning fog to chauffer retiring police lieutenant Ken Bunch to work. He was also escorted by five motorcycle officers leading the small procession as honor guards. - photo by GLENN KAHL

RIPON - It was a class act – a police escort – for Ken Bunch of Ripon on his last day as a lieutenant with the Tracy Police Department.

Five Tracy motorcycle officers followed by a 50-year-old police car pulled up to his Ripon home early Thursday morning despite the fog.  The motorcycles were backed into the curb in front of Bunch’s Van Court home with the black and white patrol unit coming to a stop in front of the walk that led to the front door.

The officers had come 20 miles to Ripon to escort their lieutenant to work – a boss they had known when he was the first motor sergeant on their force.  They all went to the door to let him know it was time to go to work – albeit for the last time.  You can bet they all went in, too.

Lt. Bunch is a 31-year veteran of law enforcement, having started in San Luis Obispo and then to the Concord department.  He has served in Tracy for the last 15 years writing the grant that made the motor sergeant’s position a possibility.

It was quite a sight to see the team of motorcycle officers lined up and idling in formation in the middle of the street in front of the Bunch home as they were ready to escort their “friend and brother” to work who had the front seat spot riding in the old black and white Ford patrol car.

Their route was up Vera Avenue to Main Street, turning north on Wilma Avenue to the freeway with the morning commute traffic.  They didn’t turn their red lights on until they got close to the Tracy Police Department and with a touch of their sirens they let the troops know they were escorting the lieutenant in the gate for the last time – an officer they will all miss at Tracy PD.