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Trooper James Saunders

Trooper James (Jim) Saunders was born August 2, 1968, to John and Jan Saunders in Clarkston, Washington.  The family moved to Leavenworth where Jim graduated from Cascade High School in 1986.  Jim received an Associate of Arts Degree from Wenatchee Valley College in 1988, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Sciences from Whitworth College in 1990.


Jim’s law enforcement career began on January 7, 1991, as a cadet with the Washington State Patrol, assigned to the Governor’s Mansion Security detail.  Jim joined the 73rd Trooper Basic Training Class, and was commissioned on December. 20, 1991, assigned to Grand Coulee in Grant County.


Trooper Saunders married his loving wife Billie on June 19, 1993, at the Grand Coulee Dam.  Three years later, the young couple transferred to Kennewick and started their family.  The couple would become parents to a daughter, Megan, and a son, Jim.  Unfortunately he never had the opportunity to meet his son.


Trooper James Saunders died on October 7, 1999, at the age of 31, from gunshot wounds while conducting a traffic stop in Pasco.  At the time of his death, Trooper Saunders had served 8-1/2 years with the Washington State Patrol as a trooper.


Trooper James Saunders’ wife, Billie, lives in Renton.  Their daughter, Megan, graduated from the University of Washington and is working for the Criminal Justice Training Center.  Their son, Jim Jr., just graduated from the University of Washington.  Trooper Saunders’ parents, John and Jan Saunders, reside in Spokane.  His sister, Jennifer, also lives in Spokane.


In May of 2000, Trooper Saunders was awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously, for his actions on October 7, 1999, by the Law Enforcement – Medal of Honor Committee.


On October 7, 2019, a memorial ceremony was held in Kennewick to recognize the 20th anniversary of his death.


Please take a moment to remember Trooper James Saunders and his family.


Trooper Saunders by Grand Coulee Dam in 1994.


Trooper James Saunders and his daughter, Megan.


Megan Saunders and her family at her graduation.


On October 7, 2019, a wreath laying ceremony was held in Kennewick to honor and remember Trooper James E. Saunders on the 20 year anniversary. 

Washington State Patrol

Trooper James Saunders 
End of Watch – October 7, 1999
Gone But Never Forgotten

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