ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — No one from the Mountainair Police Department attended officer Stephen Sandlin’s funeral 25 years ago.
But this month, the town’s current police chief – a former New York City police sergeant – led a long-overdue memorial service to honor Sandlin as an officer shot in the line of duty.
A 4-foot-tall monument to Sandlin’s memory now sits just outside the entrance to the Police Department office, where the 21-year-old rookie officer was found dead on May 7, 1988, still in uniform; still technically on duty. He was shot once in the head, his .357 Magnum found next to his body.
On May 7 of this year, Sandlin’s 26-year-old son, who never knew his dad, was in attendance at the town’s ceremony, as was Sandlin’s father, retired Albuquerque police Lt. Tom Sandlin.
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