Deputy Daniel L. Archuleta died a hero, responding to back-up a fellow Deputy. On the afternoon of September 12, one of Deputy Archuleta’s brother Deputies had responded to a call in the West Kern County Town of Tupman, and due to the nature of the call he requested immediate assistance. Archuleta was answering the call when his patrol car left the roadway and over-turned, minutes away from the scene of the call for back-up. Another Deputy, also responding, found Archuleta’s badly damaged Sheriff’s vehicle, with Archuleta’s lifeless body lying near-by. A special investigative unit of the California Highway Patrol immediately began to reconstruct the cause of the accident.
The Kern County Sheriff’s Department had employed Dan Archuleta for less than two years at the time of his untimely death. Prior to joining the Department in October 2002 he had served as a Deputy for twenty months with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Assigned to the custody division as a jailer, Dan opted to move laterally to Kern County, where he could more rapidly attain his goal of becoming actively involved in law enforcement as a Patrol Deputy. In his new career in Kern County, Archuleta was assigned temporarily to the Courts, finally attaining his goal as a field deputy assigned to the Taft Sub-station in May, 2003.
Daniel Lee Archuleta was born and raised in Southern California in the Huntington Beach, Seal Beach area. Following graduation from high school he attended Golden West College where he received an Associate of Arts Degree. Ever anxious to succeed, in 1999 he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from California State University, Bakersfield.
At a news conference following Archuleta’s death, Kern County Sheriff Mack Wimbish described Dan as “A shooting star just getting started in his career”. South Sub-station Commander Alberta Dougherty praised Archuleta as “A stellar young man, professional, ethical and prone to hustle on the job”. “He was the kind of man you’d like to clone, both professionally and ethically”, she added. One Deputy expressed the feelings of many, describing Dan Archuleta as “an all-American guy, in love with his family and job. Upon meeting him for the first time, you couldn’t help but like him”.
In honor and memory of this great young peace officer, flags were being flown at half-staff in Kern County, as well as those that are displayed at the State Capitol.
On the early afternoon of September 17 family, friends, fellow Deputies, and civic leaders were joined by several hundred peace officers representing a myriad of law enforcement agencies Statewide at the Riverlakes Community Church in Bakersfield, paying their final respects to one of California’s finest.
Dan was eulogized warmly and affectionately by his widow Laura. Sheriff Wimbish again paid his Deputy highest praise, “If God has a police force, I’m certain Dan is doing his duty in Heaven as he did on earth”.
Following law enforcement tradition, an impressive motorcade escorted the remains of a true hero from the church to his final resting-place, the Court of Honor at Hillcrest Memorial Park.
Deputy Daniel L. Archuleta is survived by his wife Laura and his two daughters, Victoria, 5 years old, and Isabella, 3 years old.
Donations in support of the family may be made to the “Daniel L. Archuleta Memorial Fund” at any branch of the Washington Mutual Bank.