Border sheriff compared to John Wayne at memorial

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (AP) -- Hundreds of law enforcement personnel and members of the general public attended a memorial service in Sierra Vista for longtime Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever.

The 60-year-old Dever died Sept. 18 in a rollover accident south of Williams as he was driving to a family hunting trip in northern Arizona.

Dever cared deeply about border issues.  He never sought the spotlight, but testified before Congress, and spoke on national television when asked.  

He was one of Arizona's four border sheriffs who asked to legally defend the state's controversial anti-illegal immigration law in federal court.

Sen. Jon Kyl compared Dever to Gary Cooper and John Wayne.

"Whenever he spoke, people listened," Kyl told the crowd in Sierra Vista Wednesday night.

Dever's son, Brendon, an Army Major, also spoke.

"I wish you could've seen my dad as I did.   Happier to be in the garden or at elk camp telling a tall tale than in the national spotlight," Dever said.

Law-enforcement vehicles, fire trucks and residents on Wednesday lined a 30-mile funeral procession along highway 90 in honor of Dever.
Dever was first elected sheriff in 1996 and had been running unopposed for a fifth term in November.
Dever grew up in the town of St. David. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, six sons and 11 grandchildren.