Deputy Dirk Leonardson was employed with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department for two years. He was hired on August 29, 1978. He was assigned to the Blythe Station. In 1979, Deputy Leonardson transferred to the Blythe Jail and in 1980; he transferred back to the Blythe Station.
Deputy Leonardson attended the 73rd Basic Academy in the fall of 1978. His law enforcement career began with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and he did not work with any other agency.
On October 4, 1980, Deputy Leonardson was at home during his off-duty time. At approximately 2:15 a.m, he heard a disturbance outside his apartment. There had been much vandalism in the parking lot near Deputy Leonardson’s apartment.
Deputy Leonardson, carrying his gun, went to investigate the disturbance. He was mistaken for the vandal by a Blythe police officer. The Blythe police officer saw Deputy Leonardson in a dimly lit area of the parking lot (Leonardson was still carrying his gun). The Blythe police officer shot and killed Deputy Leonardson.
Deputy Leonardson was survived by his wife. They did not have children. He was also survived by his parents, one brother and two sisters. Deputy Leonardson was born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.