On a cold December morning, dozens of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department recruits listened to words spoken by the widow of Deputy David March.
“My goals are simple. I will always be painfully honest, work as hard as I can, learn as much as I can and hopefully make a difference in people’s lives,” the recruits of Class No. 443 repeated together. These words they had memorized were words written by March nine days before he was shot and killed April 29, 2002.
“He wrote those words on our home computer, never knowing how profound they would be,” said David March’s widow, Teri March. “I live by those words, my kids know those words and I just ask that you would think about those words when you’re making your daily choice to make the world better, to make a difference.”
They all then took turns embracing her after presenting her with a signed class photo in honor of her late husband. As they took part in a “colors run” around the theme park, the deputies-in-training came one step closer to finally graduating and becoming members of the Sheriff’s Department.
The colors run marks a near end to the academy where recruits earn their “patches” to be placed on their uniforms on their way to becoming Peace Officers.In the run that occurred Dec. 27, the class also honored three other deputies who were killed in the line of duty, a tradition for the colors run.
The recruits present all knew the words spoken by March and they know the deputy’s story well.
At 10:40 a.m., Deputy David March pulled over a car near Live Oak Avenue and Peck Road in Irwindale. The driver, Jorge Arroyo Garcia, was considered one of the U.S. Marshals Service’s 10 most-wanted fugitives.
“The suspect had stated to friends that he wanted to kill a police officer during a traffic stop,” reads a memorial biography published by the nonprofit Officer Down Memorial Page. “The suspect intentionally got stopped and waited for Deputy March to get in front of his patrol car so he could open fire, as Deputy March would have no place to take cover. Deputy March was shot several times in the head and chest.”
After March died on the way to the hospital, Garcia fled to Mexico where he remained for four years. In 2006, he was successfully extradited back to the states, and on March 2, 2007, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
And now, nearly 18 years later, the recruits of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department honored March’s legacy by reciting his words. The gesture was also noted by those who knew March — a Saugus resident and Canyon High graduate — when he was alive.
“He really loved his work, and had a high integrity,” said Roger Gitlin, a friend of the family who helps organize an annual run every April in March’s honor. “He was just a wonderful young man — you know (a person whom) you look up at and say, ‘I hope my kids end up like that one.’ It’s extremely gratifying to know that there’s a reverence that follows this horrific event.”
March served with the LASD for seven years. He is survived by his wife and stepdaughter.
A memorial was built in March’s honor at the intersection where he was killed.