Roger Gitlin: Deputy David March remembered

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

 These words of LASD Deputy Sheriff and Santa Clarita native son Dave March live within me.

Saturday marks the 15th anniversary of the murder of Dave by a twice-arrested, three-times deported illegal alien. Dave and the March family, John and Barbara and younger sister Erin, are and remain my dearest friends.

In the 20-plus years I lived in the Santa Clarita Valley, I never met finer, more ethical or handsome people than Dave March and his family.

Deputy David March

On that fateful spring morning in 2002, Deputy March was just a week away from his transfer back to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station in his home town. He was on patrol in Irwindale when he pulled over a vehicle for an unknown violation.

The driver later swore he was going to “kill a cop today,” and this coward fulfilled his sick promise, ambushed Deputy March and shot him several times, including the fatal bullet to the head while he lay on the cold asphalt of Live Oak Avenue.

The murderer then fled to Mexico, where he lived in the open for four and a half years while the District Attorney’s Office and the Mexican government squabbled over the death penalty.

Today this cop killer is incarcerated under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation after he confessed to second-degree murder and received a life sentence with no possibility of parole. May he never see the light of freedom again.

I would like to report to you that the assassination of David March was an isolated incident, but I am unable to do so. Thousands of innocent victims have met a similar fate since Dave’s murder as the result of an unfortunate contact with one of the many people who came to the United States illegally.

Now the state of California doubles down and attempts to embrace state-wide sanctuary, which includes the protection of those who would cause you harm. The Golden State will lose this argument.

After Dave’s demise, I formed a Minuteman chapter in the Santa Clarita Valley which fought to successfully have U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean pardoned and their sentences commuted for shooting a drug trafficker in the buttocks while he attempted to smuggle 800 pounds of marijuana into the United States near El Paso.

We also asked then-Sheriff Lee Baca to enforce all laws in our community, irrespective of one’s immigration status. I learned those with no assets (or auto insurance) were treated quite differently than those with assets and cited for a similar offense. Property damage and low-level crimes committed by illegals are tepidly tolerated.

If you or I committed a similar property crime, we’d see the inside of a jail cell in short order. Clearly, a double standard emerged from the conflicted Sheriff’s Department.

And why should folks who’ve broken our border laws be allowed to stand on corners (where signage states “No stopping”) seeking work while others who follow American laws are penalized?

I took my argument to the Santa Clarita City Council and the only member to support my common-sense plea to address the issue of illegal immigration in Santa Clarita was Bob Kellar.

The other members of the council, some of whom still serve today, were absolutely unhelpful and uncooperative in addressing this problem.

One councilwoman told me to contact my congressman, Buck McKeon. Shameful! I am certain Dave March peers down on us and finally sees in the Oval Office a president who takes illegal immigration seriously and who does not consider Dave’s death in vain.

President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions will build the wall, and the president will enforce immigration law through E-Verify and other federal tools, including vigorous enforcement of Article II Section II of the Constitution.

Those who commit terrible crimes will not escape justice through sanctuary cities, counties or states. I know Dave would be pleased to see that, a decade and a half after his death, America is finally coming to terms with its schizophrenic border.

Each year the Temple City sub-station where Dave was stationed recognizes his passing. I encourage you to visit the End of Watch location where Dave was assassinated.

The LASD, as in previous years’ protocol, will pay its respects to Dave’s memory for a 24-hour period starting at just past midnight Saturday morning.

Deputy Dave March, you have made a profound difference in my life, and for that I am very grateful. Thank you! You live within me today.

Directions to Deputy David March’s End of Watch vigil: Take the 210 Freeway east to the 605 Freeway south; get off the freeway at Arrow Highway and turn right on what becomes Live Oak Avenue. The site is 300 yards east of Myrtle Avenue on Live Oak Avenue between Peck Road and Longden Avenue. The vigil begins at 0000 hours Saturday and lasts for 24 hours. For more information, visit the Sheriff’s Department Temple Station website at


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