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Officer who helped establish Ceres police canine unit dies
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Former Ceres Police Officer John Edward Souza who helped establish the agency's police canine program, was laid to rest last week following his death to cancer.

Souza died March 29 in Modesto after a battle with cancer. He was 55.

Members of the Ceres Police Department attended his memorial service held Thursday at the McHenry Chapel of Franklin & Downs Funeral Home.

Souza was employed as a Ceres policeman from May 1991 to December 2002. Previously he was an Alameda County sheriff's deputy for three years. While he served in Ceres he helped drum up community donations for a canine unit and was a canine handler for nine years. He helped instill the drive for others in his family to serve as officers. Son Kalani Souza is a canine officer with Modesto Police, and two nephews who are Costa Mesa officers.

Former Ceres Police Chief Pete Peterson, a resident of Groveland, called Souza a "cop's cop" who "walked lightly and carried a big stick," adding that he was "the best of the best."

John Edward Souza was born March 4, 1958 in Hayward to Joseph and Geraldine Souza. He was married 36 years to wife Leimomi. They have three children, Kalani Souza of Turlock, Kehaulani Souza of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Christian Souza of Turlock; four brothers, Joe Souza of Manteca, Jerry "Bud" Souza of Corona, James Souza of Manteca and Jeff Souza of Roseville; a sister, Nancy White of Folsom; and four grandchildren, Keoni Souza, Kekoa Souza, Kekai Souza, and Ke'alalani Souza.