Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Trooper James E. Saunders

Washington State Patrol, Washington

End of Watch Thursday, October 7, 1999

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Trooper James E. Saunders

I was in the Tri-cities today and thought of you and your great attitude towards the job. Sure wish you were there to mentor some of the youger Troopers.

My brother in arms.

Gone but never forgotten.


Trooper John Berends

March 1, 2008

Trooper Saunders,

I remember hearing the news about your incident. Prior to my joining the ranks of law enforcement in 1998 I was an explorer with the state patrol and I remember your name coming up in conversations with other troopers. I know you are missed and I am sure you are watching over your family and protecting them. You have done a great service for our state and that will always be remembered. Moving to the Tri-Cities has allowed me to see first hand the great service you accomplished during your tenure, and it is inspiring. Rest in peace brother.

Officer Brandon Needham
Department Of Veterans Affairs Police Walla Walla, Wa.

February 7, 2008

Trooper Saunders and Family,

A moment to thank you for your contribution and your sacrifice. My wife and I both work in the Law Enforcement field and are reminded daily of both the benefits and sacrifices this job brings. Each year in October we vacation in Leavenworth for my wife's birthday and our anniversary. At the begining of Front street there is a marble bench placed in your memory that faces the Icicle river. We take a moment each year to thank you and your family for all that you have given and ask that Jim watch over us as we continue his work. We were both fotunate enough to travel to the National Police memorial in D.C. this year. While there, we took a trace of Trooper Saunders name from the wall to bring back with us.

To your wife: Thank you for sharing Jim with us. He is forever in our thoughts and prayers and helps us each day to stay a little safer.

To your children: Your father is always with you and watches over you each day.

God bless,

Todd and Tammy Smith

SGT Todd F. Smith
College Place Police Department

October 14, 2007

Brother Jim,

I thought about you today and you will never be forgotten. A hard day to say the least my friend. You and our other brothers and sisters that have paid the ultimate sacrifice have put my life in perspective. I thank you but the sacrifice was too great. I never met you but I wish you were here and I could meet you face to face. I know that you are missed by many but your family misses you the most. Through the Washington Chapter of COPS I've met your Wonderful Parents, A very Loving and Caring Sister and a Brother-in-Law to be proud of. Plus, I think it was your new nephew. (I could be wrong might be your niece...hey, it was in 2000 at the COPS Sibling Retreat) Brother...."You're not forgotten and never will be". And neither is your family. May God Speed.

Big Brother of Mark W. Brown, EOW 02/27/1999

Detective Mike Brown
King County Sheriffs Office

October 8, 2007

I salute you, Sir, on the 08th Anniversary of your tragic and untimely murder. Thank you for your bravery, dedication and sacrifice. May all your family & friends take comfort in knowing you will FOREVER be a hero and NEVER be forgotten!

SGT, Retired

October 7, 2007

On this anniversary May we never forget this Warrior's sacrifice, and May God Grant his Family, Fellow Troopers, and Friends, the Serenity to accept the things they cannot change, Courage to change the things they can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.

Officer Debra McFall Ross
East Buffalo Twp PD, Lewisburg, Pa.

October 7, 2007

Trooper Saunders,
I can’t explain why I feel a special kinship to you. You were younger at the time of your murder than I am now and you are a father and a hero. I frequently travel through the tri-cities and every time, I think of you and you families loss. As a man about you age, I am saddened at the tremendous loss associated with your not being THERE. You gave the Ultimate Sacrifice, but that can never make up for loosing such a tremendously wonderful man. I only wish I could have been fortunate enough to know you in life and truly have been someone you would call a friend. You are a special hero to me and I will ALWAYS honor your duty and your ultimate sacrifice.

Jon Sanders

Jon Sanders

June 10, 2007

Trooper Saunders and Family,

On this day 4/24/2005 we lost Officer Larry Lasater Pittsburg, CA – PD and I thought of you. I served with him in the USMC and am a native of Wenatchee, WA and still live here today. Please accept my deepest gratitude for James and those like him! We owe our freedom and quality of life to him and to his brothers serving us still today…a debt none of us can ever repay. Jim you are a hero rest in peace!


Semper Fi,


Mark Bolz
1stLt USMC (Former)

April 24, 2007



December 24, 2006

To the family and friends of Trooper James Saunders and his fellow officers of the Washington State Patrol:

On behalf of our entire family, I wish to extend our sincerest condolences to you on this sixth anniversary of the grievous loss you suffered when Trooper Saunders was brutally murdered. Our family grieves with you and for you. We are so saddened to hear of this young officer losing his life, and leaving behind a young child and an expectant wife. I hope that you have been able to keep James' memory alive for his children.

Our family too lost our beloved Larry Lasater when he was fatally shot on April 23, 2005 during a foot pursuit of two bank robbers. His wife Jo Ann was also pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful boy 2 1/2 months after Larry was killed.

May you continue to find comfort in the caring and support of your law enforcement community, and other police survivors.

This reflection is sent with the utmost respect for the nine years of service James gave to his community and the citizens of Washington, and the supreme sacrifice he and his family made on October 7, 1999.

Phyllis Loya, mother of fallen officer
Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD , eow 4/24/05

October 7, 2005

God bless you and your family at your tragic loss. You will never be forgotten by your entire police family.

St. Louis City Police

September 28, 2005

I am never amazed at the number of places that I see your picture, or a plaque with a tribute to your service, but it is pleasing to know you are still known. I remember the night of your murder so clearly. My patrol shift was only half over and I was already falling asleep doing reports way over in Pierce County. My wife, on duty shift at Pasco, called crying and sobbing and I couldn't understand what she was saying. Her father is a retired CA Detective, I was a municipal officer, and she was the first-in medic unit to your scene. I was immediately shocked and deeply saddened by your death. I couldn't seem to get her to tell me simply the details of why you died, so I comforted her over the phone from 300 miles away until she could answer my questions. I reminded her to preserve the evidence as best she could at the scene and in the truck. I had her write some notes down to be able to give good testimony if they ever caugh the bad guy. Finally I assured her from her description of your position and your wounds that you were doing most likely doing everything right and that you didn't suffer. I made sure she passed that to your fellows and other local LEO at the scene and to treat them for shock and grief too. I felt the loss of a brother, I put it out over the air to our radio comm and my crew. In the weeks prior to your death I had been telling her about the survivor mentality and how beneficial it is to always push and reassure wounded officers to fight hard to live when they are wounded. If anything could have been done, PFD would have saved you, but you were gone.

Ironically I found out in the next few weeks that I had met you a year before on the highway returning to Pasco from a movie (VW) when I had my first date with my wife and was speeding. Your courtesy and legacy are inspiring. Even more irony, when I met a former coworker of yours to convoy from Pierce County to Tri-cities for your service, he notified me that he was the benefactor of your transfer from Coullee when he took your place there.

He had learned to fit in there like you had, and despite the heat, convinced me to visit him there the week I had met my wife. She knew you from professional interaction and described you as a really nice guy, my size, but funnier. We all attended your service together in our separate uniforms. The line of honor guards was beautiful. We drove out the night before and saw other police coming from every direction to pay their respects from just about everywhere. It was a quick trip in our patrol cars:). I was impressed by what your crew said about you. It reminded me that officer-nice-guy seems to have the odds stacked against him more than the others. Even the governor had nice expressions and personal experiences to share about your personallity. It seems odd to even think it, but I remember feeling that if someone ever got the jump on me, I hoped people would say those kinds of things about me too.

I had to visit your final resting place just 36 hours after your death since I happened to have some old single-guy stuff stored at the business there. The proprietor came out and praised your job, and your sacrafice. I thanked him for his helping you out and calling in your loss. We cried for a few minutes and stared in disbelief that a good person could die so suddenly in such a wide open place, for such a mundane reason as the killer had. He just wanted to get away. Your service is well remembered and I passed your death on to my family (5 LEO's &3 FF's) as a reason to live even more carefully on patrol and happily in life. My wife and I visit the site and leave flowers when ever we are over there again. I know your family will be cared for by the "family" of all of us. Rest in peace Jim.

And for our opposition: Romans 13:1-5


February 10, 2005

Trooper Saunders, I will never forget hearing about the day you passed, feeling angry and sad. Not knowing you, but still wishing there was something I could do. My stepfather is WSP145(RET), so this one really hit home. You will always live on in every Washington cop's heart....

Reserve Officer Chris Harbin
Kalama, Wa, PD

December 18, 2004

Tpr Saunders,
I remember hearing about your death on the news the night it happened. I am now studying criminal justice and plan on being an officer someday. Thank you for your service and God Bless your family.

October 22, 2004

Tropper Saunders,

Thank you for your courage...I will never forget you and what you did for us......I honor you.

Trooper Jim Saunders WSP-1053


Estevan C. Araguz
SSPD Res. Ofc. #2453

reserve deputy sheriff, E.C. Araguz
Franklin County, Wa. SO

October 15, 2004

Dear Jim,

Its been five years since the good lord took you into his arms for you to rest. That day I was working a grave yard shift as a reserve officer in the valley when the news came over the radio on LERN. I was 22 years old back then with only 11 months of police experiance. The only thing we knew was that an officer in the tri-cities had been injured in a shooting and nothing more. After a few minutes had gone by, dispatch told us of the tragedy over the in car MDC. I remember feeling angered, scared and helpless. I was so bothered by the news that night, I had to pull my car off road and pause for minute. Knowing that it could of been me or any of the other five guys I was working with, shook me up. I remember thinking, it could have been any of my two cousins who are both police officers as well. That night I felt like I had lost the courage I once had. But I didnt stop there.......
While at the service, I remember listening to all the people that were close to you and the many friends that enjoyed your company. What they said about you and how they described you was amazing. Even though I never met you or worked with you, I felt like I was apart of the friendship. I think I speak for most of us officers that were there when I say that. After the service, I can remeber walking out of there with some of that courage that I had lost before just knowing what type of a person you were... Since that day, I still cary the thoughts with me of that night. I use that courage that built back to go not only as a reserve officer, but in general every day life. Since then I have paid my respects to other fellow officers of this state that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. But I will never forget the day that I foun what I call " THE SAUNDERS COURAGE ".
Jim, thank you for the great life you gave to us all as a Washington State Trooper.....I will never forget you brother....

"Trp. Jim Saunders" # WSP-1053


reserve deptuty sheriff
Franklin County, Wa. SO

October 15, 2004

On the anniversary of your death, I salute you for your service and honor you for your sacrifice.

A hero never dies.....

God bless, hero. Rest in peace.

A grateful citizen.

October 7, 2004

In loving memory of Trooper James Saunders: I was at the Puyallup Fair yesterday and the WSP had a wonderful exhibit. It was there that I saw your picture and all the others that had died before you. I just finished reading your remembrances and found it difficult to read how much you were loved and how much you are missed. It is just heart breaking to see that you died before the birth of your second child. How difficult that must have been for your wife. You had so many dreams....
Our society is still so sick and scary. Nowadays law enforcement officers just don't get the respect they deserve. It's very difficult to see so many, especially the young ones,
die at the hands of criminals. I guess we all need to be prepared to die cuz we don't know when our time is up. We don't get to heaven by the good things we do, but by our faith in
Jesus Christ who paid the price on the cross by dying for our sins. So, be ready and live for Jesus daily! Your death is really, really sad. It diminishes all of us. Thank you for your sacrifice and service & for being a blessing to those who knew and loved you!
Lynn Kole
Bellingham, WA

September 28, 2004


I came to the agency after you were gone, but I still recall the feelings that stirred within me, and the tears that flowed, as I watched your memorial service on tape. You had touched so many during your life. I resolved within myself, that from that day forward, I would take nothing for granted, never think of anything as "routine", and never forget those who died in the line of duty. We never knew each other, and yet we're brothers, Jim. Peace be with you...

Trooper Erik Torrey Wickman
Washington State Patrol

July 7, 2004

I said a prayer for your family and freinds today James. I was at the Nationl Police Memeorial Wall for a couple hours today. I looked up several names and you were one of them. I etched your name for a couple of your freinds I have contact with I hope it means alot to them. Thanks for being a hero.


Emory/Ephrata, WA
brother of Ferry County Undesheriff Matthew J. Lane EOW 5/30/03

May 15, 2004

As i read the reflections of Tropper Saunders I can tell he was a well respected individual. I remember the night I heard a WA State Trooper had been killed. It really hit home as just 4 months earlier my brother Matt had been shot while on a domestic disturbance call, he survived that. Anyway it really got me thinking again that at any moment Any one of the thousands of Officers, Deputies, Troopers could be taken so quick. My Prayers are with the Saunders family I too certainly know how you feel. My prayers are with all law enforcement personnel in WA as well May God protect you as you protect us.

Emory, Ephrata WA
Brohter of FCSO Undersheriff Matt Lane (EOW 5/30/03)

March 29, 2004

Just a note to say trooper Saunders won't be forgotten

R. Fehr
wa state dept corr.

December 13, 2003

At the beginning of every shift I supervise, myself and the other officers on shift dedicate the day to the memory of a fallen officer.

Today, October 7, 2003 we dedicated the shift to the memory of Trooper James Saunders who died on this date four years ago.

When one law enforcement officer falls, we all stumble for a while, but we will carry on.

Trooper Saunders' sacrifice will never be forgotten.

Sgt. Paul Bissonnette
Royal Canadian Mounted Police - Surrey, BC

October 7, 2003


As a fellow Tri-City Police Officer, I wanted to say thank you for the sacrifice you made brother. I along with the Kennewick Police officers who were on the job when this incident took place will never forget you. God Bless you and your wife and children!

Sgt. Mike Genack
Kennewick Police (WA)

October 4, 2003

Don't grieve for me, for now I am free,

I am following the path GOD laid for me.

I took his hand when I heard him call,

I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day,

To love... to play.

Tasks left undone must stay that way,

I found peace at the close of the day.

If my parting has left a void,

Then fill it with remembered joy.

A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,

Ah...these things I too will miss.

Be not burdened with time of sorrow,

I wish for you the sunshine of tomorrow.

My lifes been full, I savored much,

Good friends, good times, a loved ones touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all to brief,

Don't lengthen it now with undo grief.

Lift up your heart and share with me,

GOD wanted me now...He set me free. live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die


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