The Coast News Group

Memorial run inspires community

OCEANSIDE — On Dec. 20 the eighth annual Dan Bessant memorial run took off from Arthur Avenue and Gold Drive to Mission Avenue. The run covers the three miles between where police Officer Bessant was fatally shot in the line of duty and the police station.

More than 30 runners took part in this year’s run, and dozens of fellow supporters gathered at the police station where police Capt. Fred Armijo and Steve Bessant, Dan’s father, spoke.

Armijo talked about the two New York police officers that were shot this Dec. 20 while sitting in their patrol car, and added that police continue to have a job to do. He spoke about the importance of training new officers, and serving the community.

Police Lt. Leonard Cosby said the mood at the memorial was reflective and inspirational.

“It was not a downer message at all,” Cosby said.

Steve Bessant talked about his son, and thanked the police department for being a family to the Bessants following the murder.

“He talked about how much we helped him,” Cosby said. “He helped us. He was a healing factor for us.”

At 6:33 p.m. a moment of silence was shared in remembrance of Bessant’s service following an announcement on police radio.

The time coincides with the time Bessant was shot.

“The dispatcher comes on and it hits you,” Cosby said. “You remember why you got into this job. You’re giving your life every day to help people. That’s what Dan was all about.”

Bessant grew up in Oceanside, and served as a police cadet before becoming an officer in 2003.

Mayor Jim Wood said the loss was very difficult because he knew Dan Bessant and his family personally.

“It was a great loss of a good person,” Wood said. “I still mourn his passing.”

Many remember his humor and sunny outlook.

“The worst day of your life he would make you laugh,” Cosby said. “He was a good, gregarious and outgoing young man.

“The best way for all of us to remember him is to exemplify him. To put our past grievances aside and come together to work together.”

Bessant worked as a neighborhood police officer in the community where he was killed.