Roger Gitlin: Remembering Deputy Dave March

The story of Deputy David March, a Santa Clarita Valley resident killed in the line of duty, is one of nine stories shared by former L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley, in his recent released book, "Blue Lives Matter."
The story of Deputy David March, a Santa Clarita Valley resident killed in the line of duty, is one of nine stories shared by former L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley, in his recent released book, "Blue Lives Matter."
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April 29 marked the 16th anniversary of the murder of Santa Clarita native son and Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff, Dave March.

As the drumbeat of the years slowly ebbs on, the memory of that terrible day is burnt into my cerebrum. Dave was on patrol and pulled over a vehicle on Arrow Highway and conducted a traffic stop on an otherwise quiet spring morning in 2002 in Irwindale. Deputy March, who was set to transfer to the Santa Clarita Valley within 10 days, met the face of evil that morning when a twice-arrested, drug-convicted and three times deported illegal alien lurched from his vehicle and ambushed Deputy March shooting him several times including a fatal bullet to the head while Dave lay helpless on the ground. For reasons that are personal, I have vowed never to utter the name of the worthless piece of human debris who executed Dave. After his murder, this coward fled to Mexico and successfully evaded Mexican authorities for 4 ½ years while the United States and Mexico squabbled over the death penalty. Mexico prevailed and finally extradited the killer to California where he pled to second degree murder and now spends the rest of his life without the possibility of parole under the authority of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. May he never see, smell, taste, or experience freedom ever again.

Dave lives within me. Not a day goes by that I do not take a moment and reflect on this fine man and his family, John and Barbara March and younger sister Erin. I honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can all enjoy a better life. Likewise, I reflect on the loss of my wife Angela’s son, 35 year old LASD Deputy Timothy James White who succumbed April 1, 2010 from an undiagnosed blood clot he sustained in an injury at the North County Correctional Facility. Life is so special. Loss is profound.

After Dave’s passing, I formed a Minuteman Chapter and worked closely with the local Sheriff’s office in bringing awareness to the problem of illegal immigration in the SCV. Center in support of our efforts was stellar City Councilman Bob Kellar who will place on the May 8 Agenda, the City’s intent to opt out of the California Values Act aka Sanctuary State law where Santa Clarita and subordinate County and City governances are prevented by State law to cooperate with Federal Law Enforcement, specifically, the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in turning over convicted felons who have served jail and prison sentences, and turning these dangerous individuals over to ICE for deportation. Sixteen years since Dave’s murder, tens of thousands of innocents have been victimized by illegals, yet America still struggles with Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution and securing its border.

I encourage you to visit the location where Dave was murdered. The Temple City Substation keeps Deputy March’s presence alive as in previous years’ protocol and paid its respects to Dave’s memory for a 24 hour period starting at just past midnight April 29. Directions: Take the 210 Freeway west to the 605 South; off at Arrow Highway, then right turn which becomes Live Oak Blvd. The site is 300 yards east of Myrtle Ave., in Irwindale.

Dave March once quietly said, “I will always be painfully honest, work as hard as I can, and hopefully make a difference in people’s lives.” Indeed, Dave, you’ve made a big difference in my life and I’m certain you’ve made a big difference in the lives of those who’ve heeded your words.

Deputy Sheriff David William March, EOW April 29, 2002.

Roger Gitlin is a former resident of the Santa Clarita Valley and currently serves as Del Norte County (California) supervisor. He can be reached at [email protected]

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