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Washington County Sheriff's Office Honors Fallen Deputy

The Washington County Sheriff's Office lost a deputy in the line of duty 18 years ago, and now it's making a special effort to make sure his story isn't forgotten.
Washington County, AR - The Washington County Sheriff's Office lost its last deputy in the line of duty 18 years ago, and now it's making a special effort to make sure his story isn't forgotten.

On November 7th 1995, Deputy Pete Williamson was murdered in the line of duty, while taking an inmate to a doctor's appointment.

"I just miss him so much," says his mother Renate Williamson. "I think about him everyday... Many times I've said I wish he would have stayed home and said 'I'm sick.'"

But members of the sheriff's office who worked with Pete say that wasn't his style.

"He had that smile on his face when he came to work," Chief Deputy Jay Cantrell says. "He still had it on his face when he went home, no matter the day he was having. "He was a really really good guy."

"Pete was always willing to do whatever it took to get the job done," adds Sergeant Steve Whitmill. "He enjoyed what he did."

Although the men and women who worked with Pete think of their fallen brother often, they realized they weren't doing enough in his memory.

"Time kind of has a way of helping to heal some of those wounds, but time shouldn't let us forget his memory and forget the sacrifice he made," Cantrell says. "Maybe we're not doing as much as we could be doing to honor our fallen officers."

Cantrell attended a course Wednesday explaining benefits for fallen officers. He says the information was valuable, but the stories from surviving family members really hit home.

"We should be being more involved and making sure that these officers families, that they know we still care," Cantrell says.

Deputies met Renate at her son's grave Thursday, to let her know they haven't forgotten, and to thank her for her son's sacrifice.

"I know they're busy," Renate says. "Something happens all the time you know."

Although it doesn't make the day any easier, she's glad to see her son's legacy living on.

"I would give anything to have him back, but there's nothing we can do," she says. "It's nice to be remembered, especially Pete. He was well liked, and that made me happy."

The sheriff's office staff also observed a moment of silence, and deputies plan to continue checking in with Pete's family to make sure they're doing alright.
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