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Derby community mourns COVID-19-related deaths of retired police officer, wife

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 6:13 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Derby Police Department and the community on Monday mourned the deaths of a retired Derby police officer and his wife. This month, Larry and Nancy Hampton died from COVID-19 within a week of each other.

“I wish Larry was still here, and Nancy, both,” said Derby Police Department Chaplain and friend of the Hamptons, Steve Brecheisen. “I wish they were still here. I loved them dearly and they meant a lot to me.”

The deaths together make for an especially difficult loss to process for family, friends, and the Derby community. Larry Hampton died last Thursday, less than a week after Nancy Hampton died.

“Sounds like a sad story, but they were so intertwined with each other that it’s kind of a fitting story as well,” Brecheisen said.

In his role as a police chaplain, Brecheisen worked with Larry Hampton for about 12 years on the Derby Police Department.

“There are many examples where Larry just showed so much compassion for people on calls and stuff,” Brecheisen said. “Same time, if you needed a talking to, Larry would talk to you, but he did it in a way that you knew he was right.”

Larry Hampton was a 20-year veteran with the Derby PD, retiring in 2017. Derby Police Chief Robert Lee said the case that defined Hampton’s career was the 2015 AT&T Store robbery and shooting that left Julie Dombo with life-changing injuries.

“I tell people that Larry was a very good police officer, but on Aug. 11, 2015, he was the nation’s best officer,” Lee said.

Hampton received the Medal of Valor for his response, but Brecheisen and Lee said he was never one to like having the spotlight on him.

“(He) exemplified every day what policing should be about,” Lee said. “it’s about caring. It’s about respect. It’s about doing the right thing, and that’s what Larry did.”

Outside of his police work, Larry Hampton had talents that those who knew him professionally may not know.

“I found out that Larry could sing,” Brecheisen said. “He played guitar and he started writing songs, and we did an album together and he loved that album.”

Brecheisen and Lee said most important to Larry Hampton was his wife and his family.

“You could tell that (Nancy Hampton) was just an extremely special person to him and vice versa,” Lee said.

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