Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever died unexpectedly last night. According to reports, Sheriff Dever was involved in a single car accident near Williams, Arizona in Coconino County at around 7pm on September 18, 2012.
Sheriff Dever, though a local county sheriff, had national level attention. As sheriff of the border county where rancher Robert Krentz was assassinated by a drug and human trafficking cartel, Dever was among those conservative law enforcement leaders to support several landmark laws in Arizona. Among those laws were the controversial SB1070, the Arizona law that requires local police to enforce federal immigration laws, and Arizona's state law that removed the requirement for a permit to carry a concealed firearm.
Other key events Sheriff Dever's leadership impacted greatly include the 2011 Monument Fire that consumed Palominas, half of Hereford, much of the Coronado National Forest, and several small towns between Sierra Vista and the Mexican border.
I met Sheriff Dever during that fire. I was on retirement leave, having served my last day of military duty just 48 hours earlier. The fire had already burned out of control for several days and was headed toward Palominas and Hereford. I could see the smoke and flames from my home, over 10 miles away. I jumped into assisting. Sheriff Dever directed his people to place continuous updates on the Cochise County Sheriff's Office website, including information on where volunteers were needed. The sheriff conducted daily briefings to people in the evacuation warning zones as well as those families already evacuated. In areas where federal bureaucrats were failing to properly manage their assets, Sheriff Dever seemed to fill the gaps with those scarce assets available to him.
Sheriff Dever also saw numerous incidents involving Sierra Vista Police, his deputies, and organized criminals such as drug runners and slavers. Many of these incidents quickly turned violent. Sheriff Dever and his men acted ethically, legally, and effectively in keeping these incidents contained as well as assisting federal authorities in detaining many of the criminals.
Larry was a great man, a loving husband, and a proud father. He will be greatly missed by every life he touched.
The Official Cochise County Sheriff's Office press release:
Condolences can be added to the SO facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cochise-County-Sheriffs-Office-Larry-A-Dever-Sheriff/264039320331263?ref=streamPlease direct all calls, cards, etc to the Cochise County Sheriff's Office:205 N Judd DrBisbee AZ 85603
Phone (520) 432-9500 Sheriff-Tips@cochise.az.gov Website http://cochise.az.gov/cochise_sheriff.aspx?id=176..
Reactions from the news so far have been outreaches of support and admiration for Sheriff Dever. The Sierra Vista Herald relates more of the story from the still ongoing investigation as well as reactions from prominent local, state, and national level personalities, to include this joint release from US Senators John McCain and John Kyl:
"We were deeply saddened to learn about the sudden death of our friend Larry Dever. We spent a great deal of time at the border with Sheriff Dever and know first-hand his long commitment to keeping the people of our state safe. We also admired Sheriff Dever’s strength to speak out when he believed more needed to be done to secure our border. Sheriff Dever was not only a leader in Cochise County, but also across Arizona and throughout the law enforcement community. Sheriff Dever was a man of honor, integrity, and selfless service to the State of Arizona. He will be greatly missed."