Roger Gitlin

“I will always be painfully honest, work as hard as I can, and hopefully make a difference in people’s lives.”

— Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff David William March (EOW 4/29/02)

Next week, after our California State Association of Counties Legislative Conference in Sacramento, I will drive south to Irwindale. I have no county business purpose or family in or near this area in eastern Los Angeles County. I am going to pay homage for a family friend, Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff David March whose words opened this article. March, 33, was slain by a three-times deported, drug-convicted felon after the individual was pulled over on a routine traffic violation on an otherwise quiet spring morning exactly 17 years ago.

This low-life vowed “… to kill a cop” that fateful morning… and he did. While March was situated in front of the stopped vehicle, the individual whose name I’ve promised to never utter, lurched from his vehicle and shot March in his upper torso. The bullet managed to penetrate an area not covered by the deputy’s bullet-proof vest. March was knocked to the ground and this person calmly fired several bullets into March’s skull; father, brother, son, and dear friend of mine was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital.

The coward who shot him fled to his native Mexico where he hid out in the open for 4 ½ years while California and Mexico squabbled over the death penalty. After the lethal penalty was taken off the table, the suspect surrendered to Mexican authorities and was extradited to California; he pled guilty to second-degree murder and he now resides for the rest of his natural life with no parole possibility under the supervision of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. May he never see, smell, and hear, touch or breathe fresh air of freedom ever again.

Some who have been critical of my staunch stand against Sanctuary State have asked me, “What does your friend’s death have to do with Del Norte County? We don’t have that problem here in our community.” I would beg to differ with that false premise. There may not have been a loss of life, yet at the hands of someone who should not have been permitted access to the United States but there has been a significant felony crime spike; and to be fair, these felonies have been committed by both citizen and alien.

Records distinguishing the immigration status of suspects is difficult to ascertain. Law enforcement is prohibited by law to disclose the immigration status. The problem of unprotected borders is nationwide and the impact on the Golden State has been profound. There are literally tens of thousands of victims nationally who have perished because of an illegal alien. The numbers of victims of murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, drunk drivers and other assorted felonies up and down the state are equally sobering. Sanctuary State will aggravate these incidents. Californians are not been made safer by the California Values Act.

A 24-hour vigil/memorial conducted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office begins at midnight on April 29. Joining me at the memorial site where March made the ultimate sacrifice will be scores of Angel Families, the March family, area law enforcement and other supporters paying respects to March and expressing opposition to Sanctuary State. Please join us Monday at 10 a.m., 300 yards east of Peck/Myrtle Avenue on Life Oak Boulevard (Arrow Highway) in Irwindale, near the junction of Interstates 210 and 605. The LASD has adopted March’s profound words as its creed. Indeed, Deputy David March you have made an impact on so many lives including mine. I thank you.

Roger Gitlin is a Del Norte County