In Honor of those Placer County Sheriffs’ Deputies
who have made the ultimate sacrifice
Deputy Michael D. Davis, Jr.
On October 24, 2014, Deputy Michael Davis Jr. was shot and killed in Auburn while trying to apprehend a suspect wanted in connection with the murder of Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff Danny Oliver earlier in the day. Davis was transported to the Sutter Roseville Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries. Deputy Michael Davis Jr.’s father, Deputy Michael Davis Sr., was killed in the line of duty on October 24th, 1988, while serving with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Their line of duty deaths occurred exactly 26 years apart to the day. He had served with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office for 15 years. He is survived by his wife and children.
Reserve Deputy Timothy A. Ruggles
On February 9, 1986, Deputy Timothy Ruggles was killed in an automobile accident on Laird Road in Loomis while he and his partner were responding to assist a fellow deputy. Timothy was flown to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento where he succumbed to his injuries approximately 90 minutes later. He had served with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office for only 11 months. He was survived by his parents.
Deputy James E. Machado
On July 13, 1978, Deputy James Machado was shot and killed with his own service weapon during a struggle with an escaped mental patient in Auburn. The suspect was located a short time later, walking along Interstate 80. As other deputies approached him he attempted to shoot them with Deputy Machado’s weapon. The officers shot and killed the suspect. Law enforcement officers from throughout the state attended the funeral. James had served the Sheriff’s Office for 4 years. He was survived by his wife, Nancy, and three young children; Jim, 7; Joy, 3; and Jeanne’t, 1.
Deputy Arden Webster
Deputy Arden Webster died during the early morning of July 14, 1965. He had made a traffic stop on Interstate 80 in Roseville when he was struck and killed by a semi-truck. He was survived by his wife, three sons, and two daughters.
Deputy Richard Alfred Sheppard
Deputy Richard Sheppard was killed in an automobile accident on September 6, 1955. He was involved in a vehicle pursuit of a stolen car when the accident occurred. He had served the Sheriff’s Office for less than one year. He was survived by his daughter.
Deputy Charles Carter
Sheriff William Elam
Sheriff William Elam was killed on October 1st, 1951 when his vehicle left the roadway and plunged down a 100-foot embankment near Dollar Hill in the North Lake Tahoe area. He was thrown from the car and died at the scene. He was conducting official business at the time of the accident. Sheriff Elam was elected Sheriff only 10 months earlier. He was 46 years old. He was survived by his wife and children.
Deputy Frank H. Dependener
On February 22, 1928 the Placer County Sheriff’s Office lost one of its most famous law men when Deputy Frank H. “Big Dip” Dependener was killed in a traffic accident while returning from a raid on an illegal liquor operation in the Roseville area. The vehicle in which Big Dip was a passenger collided with another vehicle and rolled down a 25-foot embankment, coming to rest upside down. Big Dip suffered a broken neck and died instantly. Placer County Sheriff Elmer Gum, also a passenger in the vehicle, suffered major injuries but survived.
Big Dip’s funeral was one of the largest ever held in Placer County and was attended by individuals from all over California.
A friend and colleague, Sacramento Police Captain Ed Brown, described him as “one of the best- known, best-liked and most feared men in public service.”
At 6-feet, 7-inches tall, Big Dip was the tallest man in the county. His imposing size and sheer strength were qualifications enough for being appointed a deputy sheriff in 1891 when he was just 21. He stayed on as a deputy for the next 37 years, through the administration of four sheriffs.
The media at the time observed that “for more than a third of a century, F. H. Dependener was identified with police activities in Placer County. During that time he was shot at many times, and hit, cut at many times, and cut, struck at many times, and struck, but he always came back.” Big Dip was never far from the action himself, and never afraid to wade into trouble. After his death, the Auburn Journal reported, “Dependener was said to have been wounded at least seven times by bullets, and to have borne about thirty marks inflicted by hostile criminals with weapons of various kinds.”
During the long and illustrious career of this great law man, if a crime of any consequence occurred in Placer County, you would almost have to assume that Big Dip would be involved.
The Texas Rangers pride themselves in sending one Texas Ranger to handle one riot. The Placer County Sheriff’s Office had their own “one man gang,” Deputy Frank H. “Big Dip” Dependener.
Deputy Dependener was a widower. He was survived by his two daughters.
Deputy George W. Martin
Deputy George Martin was murdered in the line of duty on July 11, 1859. Several deputies, including Deputy Martin, came under fire from the infamous outlaw “Rattlesnake Dick” Barter and his gang while attempting to arrest them in Auburn. Deputy Martin was shot and killed and Undersheriff Johnston was wounded. Barter was shot twice and badly wounded by Deputy Crutcher, but able to flee on horseback. The next morning, a posse led by Deputy John Boggs located the murderer’s body on the side of the road near the Junction House; a stagecoach stop in Auburn (the present day intersection of Lincoln Way and Foresthill Road.) The outlaw had committed suicide after being wounded in the shootout. A note found with his body indicated that he mistakenly believed he had killed his nemesis, Deputy John C. Boggs. It read, “If J. Boggs is dead, I am satisfied.”