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Sheriff Matt Kendall Recollects His Relationship and Work with Late Deputy Rick Del Fiorentino

The following statement was published on the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Facebook page:

Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall and Fort Bragg Police Chief John McNaulty at a gathering remember the life of Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino [Photograph from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office]

Today I was in Fort Bragg with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Coast Sector Deputies, various members from other coast law enforcement agencies, and others where we came together for a short time to remember fallen Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino.

Seven years ago today we lost Deputy Sheriff Ricky Del Fiorentino and most of us remember that tragic day on March 19th , 2014. This gathering is nothing about how Ricky died, but to remember how lived.

We all have stories to tell about our interactions with Ricky.Ricky had been a mentor, coach, and/or close friend too many of the deputies and other law enforcement personnel currently on the coast and throughout our county.

Some have even been coached by him while in the school wrestling or other athletic programs. Some met him at a young age as a result of a traffic stop or other police contact. Those stories remind me we were all young once.

Everyone present however shares some special memory of Ricky and each reflects some form of kindness, humor or his mischievous pranks on others.

When I was a teenager and worked at the sawmill and ranches in the Covelo, I met Ricky for the first time. He was just recently hired by Mendocino County as a Deputy Sheriff. Ricky was friends with a deputy who lived in Covelo at the time and both shared a passion for the outdoors. The forests and the river were common playgrounds for all of us back then.

Ricky was eventually assigned to the Coast Sector, and even though I would only see him occasionally over the next few years, we remained friends. Later on, I came to work for the Sheriff’s Office and would see Ricky on occasional trips to the coast. I was always amazed at his physical abilities, he was an incredible athlete, and I would always be impressed with his free diving for Abalone when diving together.

Ricky had an incredible sense of humor. He would deep dive at times then rapidly come up beneath us, or imitate a rapidly surfacing submarine, or just simply lay on the bottom of the ocean and wait for one of us to swim over him. These all were followed by a quick yank on the diving fin of the unsuspecting swimmer, leading to us making every attempt to walk on water in hope to evade what we believed to be a shark attack.

From fishing clinics, bicycle rodeos, and other Coast Police Activity League events, Ricky served his community to invest in the kids. Ricky was a gentle giant who brought calm to tense situations.

People simply loved Ricky and his actions were clear that he loved them.

Ricky was more than just a Deputy Sheriff. Ricky was a father, a husband, a coach, a protector, and a very good friend who will always be loved and missed. We have to remember what the only truth in life is. It starts from the moment we take our first breath to our last. What we do in between those moments is truly our responsibility.

I will close with Ricky and the laugh he echoed. It was infectious. If you heard his laugh alone, you laughed as well, even not knowing what started it! I hope everyone who knew Ricky will take a fewminutes to think of him today and tomorrow. Perhaps we should all strive to make the moments we have as memorable as he has made many of ours.

Thank you,

Sheriff Matt Kendall

Categories: News

2 replies »

  1. We all miss Ricky, but this is just another cheap, cringe-inducing pamphlet from Kendall. Sorry, (un-elected) sheriff, but you haven’t yet been able to put pen to paper without betraying your own sanctimonious ambition. And you can’t even spell your own name right in a press release! Also laughing to see everyone except you took off the mask for a photo!

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