Reprint from Oregon Trooper News Magazine (Article may be reprinted with credit to the above.)
Mrs. Mary Lou Sanchez’s husband, Lake County Deputy David Sanchez, was viscously shot to death in 1979 by a man he had arrested during a disturbance at a Paisley, Oregon school. His murderer felt it necessary to shoot him seventeen times… many were in the back as he lay dying.
The murderer was convicted and served less than five years. He was released long ago… free to enjoy his life while the Sanchez family still grieve for their loved one. She had not been able to go to the Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. to see her husband’s name, or to partake in the grieving seminars until now.
In 1997, Bob Dent, the President of the Constable Public Safety Memorial Foundation, wanted to do something special for this widow and other surviving families. Dent invited famed writer and prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi (prosecutor of Charles Manson Family) to Bend, for a charitable benefit, “An Evening with Vincent Bugliosi”. Bugliosi and Dent honored her and other survivors in front of a packed house. Bugliosi met privately with her and the children where he provided an autographed book with kinds words of encouragement. (Bugliosi donated $16,000 from the event to Dent’s foundation).
During a National Police Memorial Week, Dent’s organization along with the International Police Association rolled out the red carpet for Mrs. Sanchez her in Washington, D.C. where she was able to meet with U.S. Attorney Janet Reno. The Constable Public Safety Memorial Foundation paid for the round trip air fare, and lodging for a week for Mrs. Sanchez and her family. The International Police Association greeted the family at the airport and escorted her to her lodging in Washington D.C. Members of the Treasury Department and Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department also assisted the family.
The IPA has been a solid partner with Dent’s organization by supporting him, his legislation and the families of slain police officers. The IPA is a law enforcement brotherhood whose membership around the world exceeds 280,000 officers, active or retired.
This is not the first time the Constable Public Safety Memorial Foundation and the IPA have supported a family in this fashion. It has supported families all along the West Coast, all the way to Florida. Dent who has gained international recognition for his philanthropic work was was sent a complete English Bobby’s uniform from Bedfordshire England. The Chief Constable there sent him the uniform in his size to wear during charitable fundraising activates. Dent did not miss the opportunity to put the uniform to good work. He wore it to his retirement party in January, in which over $2,000 was donated from family members, friends and fellow state police officers in attendance.
During the closing minutes of the celebration, Dent called Mrs. Sanchez forward to honor her and her husband’s sacrifice. She was presented with money for a trip for her and her children to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Services and Grieving Seminars in Washington D.C. In addition, she was presented with an Oregon State Police belt buckle that was engraved, “Remember the Fallen.” In a tearful and moving statement, Mrs. Sanchez’s voiced cracked as she thanked all of those in attendance for their generosity and thoughtfulness. “After 20 years, you caring people have remembered David and our loss. My family will never forget your kindness. God bless all of you,” Sanchez said. As she left the lectern, all gave her a heartfelt, standing ovation.
Dent, who co-authored the Public Safety Memorial Fund Bill with Rep. Ben Westlund, was appointed at the time, an Ex-Officio member of the newly created state Executive Board that oversees the law. He assisted other Board members in drafting administrative rules for implementation and disbursement of funds. When asked about his accomplishments, Dent said, “It is the kind, caring and generous people, who ask nothing in return, that make our modest efforts worthwhile.”