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Three months ago, former Los Angeles County Sheriff Division Chief Curtis L. Spears returned to Los Angeles to bury his wife Peggy, but on Dec. 18, he came back to receive a special tribute from longtime friends at the Crystal Rose on Jefferson Blvd.
Spears, who retired from the Sheriff’s department several years ago after serving 32 years in law enforcement, served in a variety of capacities and rose to the rank of chief of special field operations in 1999.
At his tribute, he was lauded by a bevy of friends as a man of honesty and integrity.
“You wouldn’t know he was in authority or a policeman because he has an easy way about him,” said former Dodgers star Tommy Davis and longtime friend of Spears.
The son of a sharecropper, Spears was taught the significance of education early on in life and went on to earn an academic scholarship to Southern University in Louisiana.
His family relocated to Southern California during the height of the civil rights movement and it was here where he was married and drafted into the service before learning about the opportunities in law enforcement.
“Back then, the Sheriff’s department would pay for your education if you would join so I couldn’t pass on any opportunity like that,” he remembered.
He went on to continue his education at USC and continued to escalate in the Sheriff’s department from deputy, being promoted to sergeant and spending four and a half years at Lennox station.
Spears also served in Lynwood in the mid 1980’s and was responsible for quelling an Iranian riot in Beverly Hills for which he landed on the cover of Time magazine.
He was also featured on a segment of ABC news series 20/20 for his innovative temperament-training program and his lifetime in law enforcement has earned him a position as one of the most reputable law enforcement consultants in the nation today.
However, on this evening, it was just an opportunity to enjoy the company of some old friends and get acquainted with some new ones and he appeared to bask in every moment of it albeit humbly.
“He’s just a great man,” praised longtime friend Steve Wilson who hosted the event in his honor. “This is a man who has stood for everything that it good about law enforcement and what is good about this community. We miss him and love him and want him to know just how much we appreciate him.”
Asked what the evening meant to him, Spears replied, “It demonstrates what real friendship is about. I think the fact that people think you deserve it is certainly more important than anything I’ve done and it looks like I’ve made a lot of good friends along the road.”