Widow, Brother of Slain Stanislaus Deputy Speak Out

SACRAMENTO -- It's a bit worn, tattered from decades of service, but Deputy Dennis Wallace's badge still shines.

"I feel him here every day," Wallace's wife, Mercedes, told FOX40.

Deputy Wallace was shot and killed last November in Hughson while investigating a stolen van.

In the wake of his death, Mercedes Wallace would find out just how many lives he touched -- but it's the man behind badge no. 61 she wants the world to know.

The two met by chance, when she ran out of gas. That friendship would soon blossom into romance.

"We were married six months later," she said. "We met in early September. In December, he gave me a promise ring and asked me to marry him. We were married in March and I never looked back."

Wallace was killed just shy of the couple's 30th anniversary.

The pain for Mercedes is still there, jagged and all consuming.

"I'm here every day without him," she said.

Wallace's legacy is not just that of a peace officer. He was a husband, mentor and brother.

Wallace and his brother, David, followed in the footsteps of their father and became cops.

"If I only had one word to describe him I would say, 'smile,'" David said. "Dennis had an infectious smile and sense of humor, he loved being happy and making other people happy."

Wallace was a public servant through and through. He was a DARE officer. Despite having no children of his own, so many kids in the community looked up to him.

Even in death, Mercedes says her husband is changing lives.

"Pay it forward," she said. "Go out and help. Go out and volunteer. Go out and see what you can do for the person next to you."

Wallace's name was etched on the Peace Officers Memorial wall in Washington D.C. on May 13 -- what would have been his 54th birthday, two days before National Peace Officers Memorial Day.

In a cruel irony, it's not the first time significant numbers have collided for Wallace's family.

"His badge number was 61," David said. "(His funeral) was my 61st law enforcement funeral."

Among the many words David used in his eulogy to describe his brother was "hero."

"Respect the uniform," Mercedes said. "Just think about that they're a person and they have to go home to their family."