Dallas Police Officer Sunny Ma Lov was the city’s only Cambodian police officer when he died at age 39 in November of 1990. He was struck and killed by a car as he was putting down flares to warn motorists of an accident on North Central Expressway.
He was a community service officer for the East Dallas police storefront (in the heart of Little Asia) and helped build trust among Asian refugee residents who had experienced abuse and trauma at the hands of police officers in their native countries. He was able to communicate well with residents, because he spoke fluent Vietnamese–one of six languages he knew.
Officer Lov, once an electronic technician in the Cambodian air force, spent three years as a prisoner of war. He walked to freedom through minefields in 1981 and immigrated to the United States after several months in a Thai refugee camp.
More than 200 people asked to be notified of his funeral arrangements, which were held at the Lake Arlington Baptist Church in southwest Arlington.
41 Cambodians from Little Asia rode a chartered bus to the funeral so they could pay tribute. The bus was chartered by Youk Chhang, a Community Outreach representative of the Health and Human Services Crime Prevention Program in Dallas.
Chhang said, “The community feels that it does not matter that he is a police officer, but a Cambodian, and he belongs to us — so we have to honor him. We escaped death together in Cambodia, and we are close to each other — in spirit anyway.”
(Source: Dallas Morning News)