Deputy Sheriff Bill Jean Lea

Deputy Sheriff Bill Jean Lea

Polk County Sheriff's Office, Arkansas

End of Watch Thursday, April 29, 1976

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Bill Jean Lea

Deputy Sheriff Bill Lea was shot and killed while serving divorce papers after a woman called to report her estranged husband was at the house.

Deputy Lea and the Polk County sheriff responded to serve the husband with the papers. When they arrived, they noticed the husband's car was not in the area. Deputy Lea walked up on the porch with the sheriff to his right with his back to the wall. The wife opened the door and a male voice said, "I'm going to kill you!" The husband drew a gun from behind his wife and fired, hitting Deputy Lea in the chest.

The sheriff was able to grab the gun and pull the suspect from the house. After a long struggle, the sheriff was able to subdue and handcuff the suspect. Deputy Lea died at the scene from his wounds. The suspect was tried and convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Deputy Bill Lea was survived by his wife and five children.


  • Age 42
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life in prison

Most Recent Reflection

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Deputy Lea, thank you for the service that is sometimes so easily taken for granted. To any law enforcement official that wears gun and badge, I do know your courage and heroism. Thank you for your tireless work in keeping my freedom safe.

Allen Loving, Ssgt, USAF, Ret.
Veteran of Foreign War

January 24, 2022

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