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Retired Placer County Sheriff William ‘Bill’ Scott passes away

Lawman led Olympics security, helped capture one of 10-most wanted in United States
By: Jenifer Gee,
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Placer County law enforcement lost an “innovator and leader” among their ranks. 

 
Retired Placer County Sheriff William “Bill” Scott passed away Wednesday, according to an announcement from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. 
 
“He was an innovator and a leader and that’s looking through the rearview mirror of life,” current Sheriff Ed Bonner said Wednesday. “When you look back at his time in the organization … it was amazing.”
 
Scott was raised in Auburn and attended Placer High School before serving in the Army during World War II. 
 
During his service, Scott was involved in combat at the “Battle of the Bulge.” He was later awarded two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars, according to the Sherriff’s Office announcement posted on their Facebook page. 
 
Scott returned to Auburn and served in its police department until becoming chief. In 1951, he was hired at the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. In 1954, he was elected Placer County Sheriff, making him the youngest sheriff in California history at age 29. It’s a record he still holds today. 
 
Scott led security during the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley. He also worked to establish a station at Burton Creek in Tahoe City. Before then, resident deputies patrolled the region. 
 
The 25-year sheriff “revolutionized” the office by organizing formal “beats” for deputies and integrating radio into patrols before retiring in 1979. 
 
During his career, Scott was well-known in the community. Bonner said he remembers growing up as a kid everyone knew Sheriff Scott.
 
Their paths crossed again in 1974 when Scott hired Bonner at the age of 22 as a deputy with Placer County. It was the start of Bonner’s long career with the county’s law enforcement branch.
 
Bonner said he had a chance to spend time with Scott recently. 
 
“He told me he was proud of me so I was proud of that,” Bonner said. 
 
During his career, Scott helped the FBI arrest one of the country’s 10-most wanted men in Cape Horn, which is located east of Colfax. 
 
Scott also served as president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association, the California Peace Officers’ Association, and the California State Coroners’ Association. Bonner is the only other Placer sheriff to serve as president of the sheriffs’ association.
 
Bonner said a service has yet to be scheduled, but believes there should be something to recognize Scott and his contributions to the county. 
 
“It is a loss,” Bonner said. “I hope he and his family find peace.”
 
Bonner added that now that he sits in the same seat as Scott did, it puts in greater perspective how successful Scott’s career was. 
 
“This guy really was ahead of his time.”