Sheriffs 1941 - 1990

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Bill Earl Brooks: 1990 - 1990
Bill Brooks
  • Born 11-04-1929 and Died 02-20-2001.
  • When Hollis Spencer was Sheriff in 1957, he hired Brooks to be his Chief Deputy. Brooks worked with Spencer until he became the Chief of Fayetteville Police Department in 1961, when Brooks left as well and they worked together until Spencer retired in 1975. Brooks stayed with the department until 1980 when he retired. One year later Brooks returned to the Sheriff's Office as a deputy under Bud Dennis. Brooks served as Interim Sheriff after Bud Dennis resigned in 1990. He held that post until McKee was elected Sheriff and he retired in 1992.
  • Spencer said, "Brooks was a natural-born lawman with a knack for locating suspects that other officer's couldn't find. When the Sheriff's Office or the Fayetteville Police were looking for someone they couldn't find, they gave the name to Bill. Brooks' ability to find what he was looking for was largely due to his remarkable memory."
Bud Dennis: 1981 - 1990
Bud Dennis
  • From West Fork area and served for 10 years.
  • During his tenure, the Quorum Court determined the number of paid deputies by using a formula of one deputy per 2,000 citizens, but money was the overriding factor in determining how many were hired.
  • Their posse supplemented the Sheriff's Office, and each posse member was required to attend 100 hr law enforcement training prior to actual duty.
  • Posse members worked a minimum of 100 volunteer hours each calendar year and in 1984 insurance coverage was obtained for the posse members while they were on duty for the department. Bulletproof vests were furnished, but they were responsible for obtaining the rest of the required uniforms and equipment.
  • Velma Millsap, a jail matron was the only full time matron. There was a part time matron in 1981. At the time she had worked for the county for 7 1/2 years and had worked under Sheriff's Bill Long, Herb Marshall and Bud Dennis.
  • In 1988, the College Ave. Jail was completed. The jail would house 88 detainees.
  • On Friday, March 20, 1981 West Fork Police Chief Paul Mueller pulled into the Western Service Station on Hwy 71 in West Fork. The 2 attendants told Mueller he might want to check out the 2 men who just left since one appeared to be drunk. Mueller left southbound and stopped the car on Hwy 71 about 3/4 of a mile south of Hwy 170. After closing the station, the 2 attendants reportedly went to check on Mueller and found him lying in front of his patrol car with the car motor running and the blue lights flashing. Mueller had been shot and a second man who was also shot was lying on an embankment to the right of the patrol car. Officers found the car abandoned 2 miles south on Hwy 71. Over 100 Northwest Arkansas law enforcement officers came to the scene to search the area for the suspect. The search later included officers from Missouri and Oklahoma. On March 24, 1981, off-duty Officer John Schuster found the suspect, Rodney Lovell Britton, in a loft of a farmhouse. Britton shot Officer Schuster in the arm and Schuster fired 6 times with 2 being misfires. Britton shot again and struck Schuster in the thigh. Britton died as the result of at least 4 shots from Schuster. The other suspect, Billy Gale Henry, was shot by Mueller was charged with Capitol Murder.
Herbert Marshall: 1975 - 1980
Herb Marshall
  • He served for 3 terms.
  • The posse had to take a 40-hour law enforcement-training course for reserve officers at the U of A, and then later in his tenure they increased it to an 80-hour course.
  • On December 21, 1975, Springdale Officer John Tillman Hussey was shot and killed after being abducted while on a traffic stop. Officer Hussey made a traffic stop on a 1976 International Travelall Vehicle on North College near Ramada Inn. Marshall was called in the middle of the night and when he arrived he found the car running, blue lights on, and police officer gone. Other reports also state that Springdale Patrolman Tom Dickens arrived, 4 minutes after the traffic stop was called in over the radio, as a back up to find the same. On Saturday, a man and his son went to target practice in some woods off of Hwy 16 west of Fayetteville, and found the Travelall burning. When Marshall arrived he found Hussey's body down a hill in front of the vehicle in some bushes. He was handcuffed and had been shot 4 times in the face with his .357 service revolver. There were 4 suspects: James Ray Renton, Harold Davy Cassell, Carl Don McLaughlin, and Larry Lynn Wallace. Renton had been on the FBI's 10 most wanted list since April 1976 and on the 15 most wanted list of the U.S. Marshal Service. Renton was sentenced to life with no possibility of parole. He escaped from prison in 1988 but was captured in Texas after being profiled on the television show "America's Most Wanted." Renton died a few years later of cancer. Cassell was sentenced to life with no possibility of parole. Carl Don McLaughlin committed suicide in September of 1976 and Larry Lynn Wallace was killed while in prison serving another unrelated conviction.
Bill Long: 1969 - 1974
Bill Long
  • He served 3 terms and had an office staff of nine.
  • Mary Mueller was the only fulltime female matron to work at the Jail. The jail would average 50 females booked in a year.
  • In June of 1971, Eddie Hawkins and 2 other teenagers were working at the Safeway at Emma and 71B in Springdale and suspect Graham waited for them outside. When they appeared outside he convinced them to go back in the store and open the safe. He then drove them to Sonora and shot all three-execution style. Eddie survived and went knocking on doors to get help. Apparently Graham was an escaped prisoner and had bought an appliance and a gun at the Western Auto Store in Rogers and when State Police showed his picture to the store worker, he was identified as Graham. He was caught in Michigan in August 1971. Gov. Rockefeller commuted all death penalty cases when he left office, so Graham didn't receive the death penalty and later died in prison.
  • The WCSO posse was incorporated with the Secretary of State during Long's tenure.
  • Long organized a junior deputies club for boys in grades 4 through 7.
  • The Arkansas General Assembly adopted legislation to require all city, county, and state police agencies to exhibit blue rotating or flashing lights on the emergency vehicles.
  • Long obtained a federal grant of $8,818 in 1969 to purchase new two-way radio transmitters for the jail, courthouse, and six patrol cars. The current radio system they were using was purchased in 1947.
Arthur B. Davidson: 1963 - 1968
Arthur B Davidson
  •  On 02-20-1967, Deputy Casto Robertson was shot and fatally killed and Deputy Maurice Southern was shot and injured by Herb Fletcher. Fletcher had apparently been arrested by the two deputies at his home in connection with the theft of several rifles owned by a Summers resident. Deputy Southern was passing car keys from the suspect to his wife outside the car when Fletcher produced a .22 pistol and shot Deputy Robertson. Deputy Southern was shot while wrestling with the suspect. Fletcher forced Southern back into the vehicle and ordered him to leave. State Trooper Ross Valentine and Crawford County Sheriff Bill Vickery arrested Fletcher after a high-speed pursuit south on Hwy 59 and east Interstate 40. 
  • The Springdale Police Department Mounted Patrol discontinued and Davidson made an agreement with the Springdale Chief and took them on as the WCSO posse.
Hal Brogdon: 1962 - 1962
  • No information available at this time.
Hollis Spencer: 1957 - 1962
Hollis Spencer
  • From Elkins area.
  • Sheriff Spencer went to Fayetteville Police Department as Chief and Hal Brogdon was appointed to serve.
  • Spencer and his family lived at the jail when he was Sheriff. They dispatched from the basement where he also held the male prisoners. Upstairs was a dining room, kitchen, living room and 2 small bedrooms. Females were kept upstairs on the floor above the Spencer's living quarters.
  • Spencer would shut the radio room down at midnight and he answered the phone from his bedroom. He had 3 deputies who took turns answering the calls. When it was his turn to actually go out on a call, his 15-year-old son would man the telephone in case he called in and needed help.
  • Spencer started his career in law enforcement in 1951 with the Fayetteville Police Department. He worked there for 5 years before he ran for Sheriff in 1956. He took the position and was elected to 2 more terms, but left in the last 6 months of his office to return to the Fayetteville Police Department to take the position as Police Chief in 1962. In 1975, he retired, and began work with the state's enforcement division of Alcohol Beverage Control until 1988. A law firm hired him to do some "leg work" for them and soon a Judge's order made him the first private civil process server in Washington County. He met Kenneth McKee, who brought Spencer with him when McKee was elected Sheriff in 1990. When Steve Whitmill was elected Sheriff in 2001, he asked Spencer to stay on as Chief Deputy. Spencer died in 2003.
Bruce Crider: 1947 - 1956
  • From Greenland and served for nearly 10 years, then became County Judge.
  • Crider was shot in the right arm on Saturday, July 10, 1954 by a robbery suspect who was 16 years of age. The 16 year old was also shot.
Cap P. Gulley: 1943 - 1946
Cap Gulley
  • From Springdale and served 2 terms.
  • In 1943, Tuck Bishop shot and killed 4 men who had been flirting with his common law wife. This happened at the Friendly Café on Emma in Springdale.
  • Sheriff Cap Gulley, a State Trooper and a news reporter, got into the Trooper's car to go to Elkins where Bishop's mother lived. On the way, the Sheriff choked on his tobacco wad, and the manhunt came to a halt until the Sheriff could "barf" it up and get back into the car. The two officers later arrested Bishop south of Fayetteville.
Arthur B. Davidson: 1941 - 1942
Arthur B Davidson
  • From Winslow and served 1 term.
  • Davidson served again from 1963-1969 (see next term).


The Washington County Sheriff's Office would like to keep an accurate and comprehensive history of the prior Sheriffs and relevant information. If anyone has information to share or corrections that need to be made please contact Kelly Cantrell.