Deputy Sheriff William Howard Gudgell

Deputy Sheriff William Howard Gudgell

Tarrant County Sheriff's Office, Texas

End of Watch Friday, September 17, 2021

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William Howard Gudgell

Deputy Sheriff Howard Gudgell died from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty.

Deputy Gudgell had served with the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office for 18 years.

The Effects of COVID on Law Enforcement

Beginning in early 2020, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders throughout the country began to contract COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic. Due to the nature of their job, law enforcement officers were required to work and interact with the community even as the majority of the country was self-quarantined. As a result, hundreds of officers died from COVID-related illnesses and other complications.

Corrections agencies, in particular, suffered tremendous losses due to the constant and close proximity between the corrections officers and large inmate populations. Since March 2020, ODMP has verified that over 900 law enforcement officers have died as the result of a confirmed or presumed exposure while on duty and continues to work with hundreds of other agencies that have suffered a COVID-related death.

Visit ODMP's COVID-19 memorial listing every officer who has died as a result of a confirmed or presumed exposure.


  • Age 72
  • Tour 18 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause COVID19
  • Incident Date Not available

COVID-19, communicable disease

Most Recent Reflection

View all 4 Reflections

I came to know Howard Gudgell in 2005 when I began my tenure @ TCSO after retiring from Arlington PD. Initially it was in passing, but when he moved to the Justice Center in 2010 where I was working, we found time to become acquainted & a true @ work friendship ensued. Although in different venues, our early law enforcement careers on a time-line, mirrored each other. I came to know him as a quiet, yet opinionated man, with a subtle but energetic sense of humor. Those few years before I retired in late 2013, was aptly spent with Howard in good company. As a parting gift, he fashioned for me, a beautiful hand-made jack knife carved of wood, with my name engraved, & on a wooden display stand. on my desk. I always cherished that gift from him, even more so in hearing of his untimely passing. Every morning upon awakening, my desk & that knife are one of the 1st things I see @ the foot of my bed; I look @ the knife, say good morning to Howard & I smile. Alex Ramsey Arlington PD/Tarrant County S.O. retired. A friend of Howard Gudgell's.

Officer/Deputy Alex Ramsey retired
Arlington PD/Tarrant County S.O. retired

December 17, 2023

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