Deputy Sheriff Michael Jay Bentley

Deputy Sheriff Michael Jay Bentley

Kern County Sheriff's Office, California

End of Watch Wednesday, October 19, 1983

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Michael Jay Bentley

Deputy Sheriff Michael Bentley was killed when his cruiser was intentionally rammed by a fleeing armed robbery suspect.

The suspect was fleeing an armed robbery of a convenience store in a stolen pick-up. The suspect changed direction, and before the pursuing deputy could broadcast the direction, he approached Deputy Bentley's unit head-on, explaining later that he saw the vehicle but decided to commit suicide by ramming the patrol car. The subject suffered a cut lip.

The subject was sentenced to life imprisonment but is eligible for parole.

Deputy Bentley was a United States Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran and had served with the Kern County Sheriff's Office for eight years. He was survived by his wife, stepson, parents.


  • Age 33
  • Tour 8 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Vehicular assault
  • Weapon Automobile
  • Offender Sentenced to life

robbery, vehicle pursuit

Most Recent Reflection

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In 1990 I was sworn in a Kern County Deputy Sheriff. In 1991 I was assigned to the Mojave/Rosamond Sub-station. I spoke to several other Deputies who were present during the incident that took your life. At the time of this tragedy, I was a Police Officer in the Los Angeles area. Years later while on patrol or responding to emergency calls, I drove the road where the collision occurred many, many times. Every single time as I drove down that road I thought of you, having never personally known you. To me and many others you are and always will be a fellow Deputy and a brother. God bless you and may you forever rest with the Lord in peace.

Mark Cerull, Retired Deputy Sheriff
Kern County Sheriff Office

March 31, 2023

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