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Deputy Jack Williamson serves 21 years with Madera Sheriff's Office - photo Madera Sheriff

Deputy Jack Williamson Retires After 21 Years Of Service

MADERA COUNTY – Sheriff’s Deputy Jack Williamson is retiring after 21 years of outstanding service to the citizens of Madera County.

Deputy Williamson reported for his final shift on Monday, April 22, though his last official day is May 1 and he will continue to serve as a reserve deputy.

Jack was born in Fallbrook, Calif., in 1964, and shortly thereafter his family moved to Oakhurst. He attended Oakhurst Elementary and then Yosemite High School, where he played baseball and football. Jack graduated in 1982 and married his high school sweetheart, Jerilyn Taylor, in 1985.

He went on to Reedley College and graduated from Fresno City College, then returned to Yosemite High to coach baseball and football, and also helped to scout for varsity football. One interesting note about his time coaching at YHS was that one of the students he coached was now-Undersheriff Tyson Pogue.

After eight years as a driver for UPS, Williamson served two years as Youth Pastor at Mountain Christian Center in Oakhurst before training to become a law enforcement officer at the age of 33.

He completed his training at the Police Academy at Fresno City College and was hired by the Fresno Police Department. After three months, he accepted a position at the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, and says it has been the perfect fit since day one – April 22, 1998.

Most of his career has been spent working in Eastern Madera County. Williamson has served as a patrol deputy, a Field Training Officer and a rope rescue leader.

He has been Assistant Search & Rescue Team Coordinator, worked on the Problem Oriented Policing Team and as snowmobile team leader.

He also served as a sexual assault detective working with ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children), was part of CSART (Child Sexual Assault Response Team), MADNET (Madera Narcotics Enforcement Team), and MET (Marijuana Enforcement Team) where he was was an aerial observer and also hiked into outdoor grows with the SWAT team.

Williamson spent a few years in the Madera Superior Court as a bailiff, and in 2015 and 2016 served as School Resource Deputy at Yosemite Unified School District. He has also twice been named Deputy of the Year.

His most recent assignment has been working for Sgt. Joseph Wilder in the Office of Emergency Services dealing with emergency management and tree mortality issues.

Williamson has made hundreds of presentations for schools, businesses, churches and small groups on Active Shooter Response – training people in ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) and “Run, Hide, Fight” responses.

“I wasn’t asked by the Sheriff’s Office to do these, but it was so successful, that I kept doing them with the Sheriff and Undersheriff’s blessing,” says Williamson.

One of the stand-outs of his personal life has been the creation of the Clancy’s Run Project. Clancy Aiden Shea-Schweikert was born very healthy on Feb. 26, 2003, but contracted meningitis at the age of four months, leading to brain damage of the basil ganglia, as a result of the ensuing encephalitis.

Clancy loved to run and with his mom Casey assisting him, he participated in the Smokey Bear Run at Bass Lake. One year, Casey couldn’t run with Clancy because she was pregnant and when Jack Williamson heard she was saving money to purchase a special lightweight wheelchair designed to accommodate Clancy in the race, Jack took over as both designated runner and fundraiser.

Though Clancy passed away in 2014 – just two days before his 11th birthday – Williamson has continued raising money for special strollers for kids who want to participate in the race, and Clancy’s Run is now a very special part of the Smokey Bear Run each year.

Friends, family and colleagues gathered at El Cid last Monday to celebrate the career of a man who has touched so many lives and is held in such high regard by his supervisors.

“Jack is one of a kind,” says Sgt. Wilder. “I have been privileged to work with him for as long as I have.”

“Jack Williamson has been an outstanding deputy in every area he was assigned,” says Sheriff Jay Varney. “He really cares about the mountain communities and it shows in his work.”

As the day of retirement approaches, and he reflects on 21 years of service, Williamson say the most rewarding part of his career has been making a difference for younger victims and knowing that they’re not being abused anymore. Working in the role of “peacemaker” was also a big part of the job.

“People can have a bad day,” he says. “I don’t hold it against them, and I can sleep better at night knowing that I did the right thing and made a difference.”

As he scans back over the years, now at age 55, he also remembers all the family moments he missed and looks forward to making up for lost time.

For more than two decades, a ringing phone would signal that it was time to go to work.

“I would be pulling out of the driveway to go do something fun with my family, and I would get the call and would have to turn around,” he says, recalling all the missed birthdays and family events.

“Now it’s going to be family first! There is nothing more important than taking care of your family. Now, when the phone rings, I will think it’s probably a phone solicitor.”

Jack and Jerilyn have three grown children and four grandsons, with a fifth – his namesake “Jack” – due this week.

Many times throughout the years, as Jack was called back to duty during a family gathering, Jerilyn would say to him, “I didn’t sign up for this!” Now, both will be able to sign on to a new chapter of life.

Williamson is setting himself some rules for retirement and has started a list –

#1. No TV or Facebook while wife is at work.

#2. Do dishes before wife gets home.

“Jerilyn liked where this list was going and asked ‘what about laundry?’ I told her, don’t get all crazy!” he jokes.

Jack says that particular rule is still in negotiations.

(If you would like to support the Clancy’s Run Project, please email info@smokeybearrun.com).

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