Jeff Jardine

We weep for slain Deputy Wallace, but a killer simply does not care

Cold-blooded killers simply do not care. They do not care about the victim. They do not care about the victim’s family, friends, future or past. They do not care about the victim’s smile.

They simply do not care.

Stanislaus County sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Randall Wallace died Sunday morning because the suspect cared only about avoiding capture after Wallace confirmed the vehicle the killer drove was indeed stolen. He shot Wallace in the head, authorities said. He executed him, attaching no value to the life of a man whom many called their friend, who loved him and respected him.

Scott Hardman, a retired sheriff’s detective, is among them.

“We were always like brothers,” he said. “Our dads worked together at the CHP. We ran around together since we were 3 or 4 years old.”

Killers wouldn’t care about that, though. They just kill.

“We’d talked to him on the phone,” Hardman said. “We were going to try to get together do something after his shift (Sunday night).”

Killers wouldn’t care about that, though. They just kill.

“He, his wife and my wife were planning to take me to see a play (“Beach Blanket Babylon”) in San Francisco on my birthday,” Hardman said.

Killers wouldn’t care about that, though. They just kill.

“All Dennis ever wanted to do was to be a cop,” Hardman continued. “He was the most compassionate cop I ever met. He was good. He was the cop my dad always told me to aspire to be.”

Killers wouldn’t care about that, though. Or that the Hardman and Wallace families loved to go to Disneyland together.

“Dennis would grab everybody’s tickets and get fast passes and he’d plan out what we were going to do all day,” Hardman said.

Killers wouldn’t care about that, though. They just kill.

“I loved that man and I’m not ashamed to say it,” Hardman said. “I couldn’t have been more proud of him if he and I had been brothers.”

Nope. Don’t care.

Killers wouldn’t care about that, though, any more than that brothers Dennis and David Wallace (Modesto police) followed their dad into careers in law enforcement. Dad, Dennis Taylor Wallace, was a California Highway Patrol officer who was off duty when he died in an automobile accident in Amador County in 1985. Hardman cared. His father, Ron, worked alongside Dennis Taylor Wallace when both were highway patrolmen, which is how the boys became the closest of friends.

Nor would they care that the younger Dennis Wallace loved being a cop and making a difference in the town of Hughson, where he organized soccer leagues.

“Off duty or on duty,” longtime friend, former deputy and former co-worker Chuck Jones said. “Dennis was dedicated to Hughson. I know he was proud of that.”

Or that he was one of the most likable people you’d ever meet, to which I can personally attest.

Frank Clark, who once headed security at the E.&J. Gallo Winery, was proud that he hired Wallace as a security officer before Wallace became a sheriff’s deputy.

“He worked for me for five or six years and was assigned at the Gallo (family) homes,” Clark said. “He was a good, young officer. Ambitious. He was one of the nosiest (guys) I ever saw, and I mean that as a compliment. He saw something and he got after it. He left no stone unturned.”

Clark kept in touch with Wallace over the years.

“He belonged to the (Oakdale) country club and we’d see him and his wife, Mercedes, there,” Clark said. “It just makes me want to cry.”

Killers wouldn’t care about that, though. They never do – that Dennis Wallace’s wife and family and friends will indeed cry their eyes out in mourning just as Merced police Officer Stephan Gray’s family did in 2004, or Ceres police Sgt. Howie Stevenson’s did in 2005, CHP officer Earl Scott’s did a year later, Bob Paris’ in 2012, and those of every other murder victim, law officer or otherwise, left to weep and wonder why.

Killers don’t care about such trivial details, though.

They just kill, coldly.

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