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As I see it: Dever's death leaves a void in all law-abiding hearts
Sierra Vista Herald ^ | Bill Hess

Posted on 09/30/2012 8:55:25 AM PDT by SandRat

Dear Nancy,

I want to thank you for the years of allowing those of us who call Cochise County home to have your husband, Larry, as our sheriff.

I first got to know Larry when I came to this newspaper in 1984, a couple of years after the Miracle Valley Shootout, the only title we in the media could come up with. I know he took a lot of heat, which was mostly generated by outsiders who flew in, made accusations, and then flew away.

I left in 1987 for a five year period to work at another Wick paper in North Carolina, but when I returned in 1992, again I made contact with Larry and it seemed as if I had gone on a short vacation, with our relationship continuing.

Now when it comes to reporters — we can have sources who can become acquaintances. We are supposed to use such sources for getting tidbits of information or to confirm something that we heard to find out if it’s fact or fiction. But to become a friend — horrors of horrors which is akin to violating an unwritten code in journalism — well, let me tell you, Larry was my friend.

The friendship wasn’t immediate, but like any good one it was built on a firm foundation. Initially, Larry was a source, a person I would ask about an issue to confirm its veracity.

Then he became an acquaintance, as we met at different events, mostly political, where discussions would involve many topics, not just law enforcement. Although most of the time law enforcement was the initial base for some of our talks.

Then came friendship.

A time when serious discussions and the lighter ones could be talked about. And while you may not know it, you Nancy, were the conduit for many of those discussions. Many times it was you who answered the phone at your home to hear “Is Larry there?” I often could hear you call him to the phone with something like “It’s Bill Hess.”

He knew, as you did Nancy, if I was calling him at home, it was important. Something which had to do with his position as Cochise County Sheriff.

And during normal work hours, if there is such a thing for anyone in law enforcement, I could call his office and over the years his secretaries, Juanita Jones or Terri Nuti, would get Larry a message and he would call me. Many times he was on the road, or in D.C. testifying or getting ready to go to Israel to see how that nation protects it borders.

And of course Carol Capas, the department’s spokeswoman, also had done the same favors.

It was Carol who called me early one morning, thinking I was at home and not knowing I was in San Antonio, to tell me of Larry’s death.

I thank Carol for that call because she knew he and I were friends.

During the Monument Fire when the Herald/Review was being denied access to the burned areas by overly cautious federal officials, it was Larry who twice took a reporter and photographer on rides through some of the hardest hit areas, stopping so we could interview landowners or other people.

And it was he who ensured the media was briefed every afternoon, with Larry making sure we had the current local view of the Monument Fire, while his department was also engaged in another blaze in the eastern part of the county.

Yes, Larry was always available.

But Larry also was a private man and many times he would talk about an issue, or something bothering him with the caveat “Now this is off the record, I’ll let you know when it’s on the record later.”

He gave me some information that was interesting, but always the agreement between us was kept.

What Larry has to be admired for is his dedication to the people of the county.

He once told me, in a not off the record talk, he understood running for sheriff required being a Republican or a Democrat. In other words there was a partisan aspect in being elected. However, and I almost can remember his direct words, “Once you are elected sheriff, you can’t be partisan in doing your job.”

I’ve gone to both main political party events and Larry — and many times you Nancy — were there. His trust in you, your advice, can be seen by Larry having you as his campaign manager for all his elections.

That love was more than once stated in some of his speeches before groups, often with a recognition of you Nancy, as the person who raised six sons, with Larry noting it was actually seven boys, himself included.

It never failed to get a laugh.

But everyone knew you agreed.

The smile on your face and the nodding of your head in the agreement told us all it was true. I also know Larry was a friend of another media member, David Fitzsimmons, the editorial cartoonist for the Arizona Daily Star. In Wednesday’s edition of the Tucson paper, Fitzsimmons did a cartoon, a serious one.

It shows a white hat on a cross, with a sheriff’s badge and lariat. Walking away was a father and son.

The son, looking up at his dad, said, “In the Old West the good guys always wore white hats, right, Pa?”

To which the father responded, “It’s still true, son. Ask the folks who knew Sheriff Dever.”

Larry epitomizes the best of what a good public servant should be — one who serves the people.

Dear Nancy please know that while Larry is survived by you, your sons, grandchildren and other family members there are others who embrace you as his survivor as well.

Wednesday’s memorial service saw the gathering of nearly 2,100 people at Buena High School to honor our sheriff.

You see, Larry is also survived by the law-abiding residents of Cochise County, who with you and your family mourn his death.

And that’s as I see it.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: cochise; hearts; sheriff; void

1 posted on 09/30/2012 8:55:33 AM PDT by SandRat
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To: SandRat

He was a good man and a great American. He’ll definitely be missed. RIP sheriff. You did good.

2 posted on 09/30/2012 8:59:13 AM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Vote early and vote often.)
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To: SandRat

3 posted on 09/30/2012 9:22:58 AM PDT by null and void (Day 1349 of our ObamaVacation from reality - Obama, a queer and present danger)
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To: SandRat
Beautiful tribute. So sorry for your county. Do you think one of his sons will run for Sheriff? I know he was running unopposed this November. Prayers for his family.
4 posted on 09/30/2012 9:23:12 AM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: originalbuckeye

There are now 5 men running for Sheriff; none of his sons are among them.

They all waited until after his memorial service to announce their candidacies.

5 posted on 09/30/2012 9:15:24 PM PDT by HiJinx (Progessive Compassion requires OPM - Other People's Money.)
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To: HiJinx

Any of them any good?

6 posted on 09/30/2012 9:27:05 PM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: originalbuckeye

Our county party precinctmen voted for a replacement candidate who I believe is going to be a good Sheriff, by the name of Mark Dannels. He’s been a deputy here and a Police Chief of a small town in Utah.

7 posted on 10/01/2012 8:18:16 AM PDT by HiJinx (Progessive Compassion requires OPM - Other People's Money.)
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