Diego used to wear a BEND trucker cap, it had the iconic city name in all caps filling a circle outline. It had a blue line; I came to find out the caps were made to commemorate a fallen officer at Bend PD.
When Diego died in duty, which will be 5 years ago in July, I felt my idle hands and mind eating away at me. I reached out to the wife of the fallen officer who was so supportive of using the caps and an homage in design.
Some modifications were made and the Kent cap with 2K56, his call sign since retired were made. Between the sales of the caps, workout boot camps, and custom drawings, a lot of people’s contributions helped me raise a couple thousand bucks for his family and the WSU scholarship in his name.
It felt good to honor his name and legacy. It was a concrete way to do it, but it goes much farther than that.
After he died, I thought a lot about how he did policing. He was much more patient than I was. He was much more mission-focused at times that I was. He was certainly the epitome of a community engagement cop without the title. It made me try to be that and eventually take on roles that required it. Because we needed it. Because I needed it.
I think a lot about why I’m still a cop and what kind of cop I try to be. A balanced leader, humble, engaged. FUN. Diligent to the work but empathetic and recognizing of the big picture. Fully devoted to my team, their wellness and support.
Not JUST a cop, but a family man and unparalleled friend. A lot of it is focused around legacy - inspired by Diego.
This past weekend I got to spend some precious quality time with some of my best friends and brothers- a reunion of sorts. And what better place than Bend.
I realize I am lucky to have the friends and brothers I do- not just so many but the depth is humbling.
After Diego died, we commonly talked about how FULL a life he lived with less than 36 years. We talked about how much impact he made in less than half a potential lifetime.
I think about that often, especially as I have been gifted more time than he already. I think about not squandering it - and always being grateful.