(PUEBLO, Colo.) — Del Ireland began her morning in Pueblo raising an American flag outside of her home. While she had never met Christine Guerin Sandoval, Ireland was determined to honor the fallen officer who gave her life protecting the community.
“I told my son-in-law, I said, ‘go get my flag, we have to put it out for Ms. Sandoval today,” said Ireland.
Ireland lives across the street from Romero Family Funeral Home, which was the final stop of the procession on Tuesday afternoon.
“We just didn’t move,” Ireland said. “We just sit here and prayed and just paid our respects to a beautiful girl. I didn’t know her, I just saw a picture of her, but it was very heartwarming and, well, [I] even shed a tear.”
Ireland is one of many people throughout Southern Colorado who took a moment in their day to honor Officer Sandoval. People were lined up throughout the procession route on Tuesday afternoon to show their support for the officer who gave her life last week.
For 12 years, Officer Sandoval worked for the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), where she worked in several different roles.
“She moved around quickly because Christine was a very talented young lady,” PCSO Undersheriff Steve Bryant said. “She went to patrol. She worked in transportation. She was a SRO and an incredible SRO at that. She had quite the connection with the kids and the staff in the school. She was pretty much amazing. Christine did a lot of things at our office.”
The hard work and determination of Officer Sandoval did not go unnoticed.
“In 2010, she was the Detention Officer of the Year,” Bryant said. “Then in 2018… when she was in patrol, she turned out and she was the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year,” Bryant said. “Christine was just an exceptional deputy, but she was even a better person and I think that’s what made her so strong at everything she did.”
Bryant reflected on the moment he received the call of Officer Sandoval’s death.
“Well, immediately, my heart just kind of sunk, knowing Christine like I have over the years,” Bryant said. “Any time you lose any law enforcement officer, it’s tragic. But when you lose somebody that comes from your own agency, it’s not something you can describe.”
Inside of the Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, sat a framed photograph of Officer Sandoval in her PCSO uniform with a rose placed directly under.
“I remember I looked through her history of awards that she received, which she received quite a few,” Bryant said. “One of them she received was a citizen called in and wanted to just compliment her because she waved at him. Something as simple as that. That’s what Christine did.”
Byrant went on to explain the immense impact Officer Sandoval had on not just him, but also on the entire Sheriff’s Office.
“She was exceptional,” Bryant said. “She did exceptional work. She tackled it. She was never afraid of anything, and she was a valued employee, somebody that we will greatly, greatly miss here at the Sheriff’s Office and never forget.”
Officer Sandoval’s procession ended at Romero Family Funeral Home where she was reunited with loved ones and across the street, Ireland’s flag waved in solidarity.