The man said to be the oldest law enforcement officer in the world died Feb. 17 at age 99, according to an announcement from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office in Texas.
Reserve Deputy Bill Hardin began his career in 1947 with the Fort Worth Police Department after serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, CBS News reported. He had worked for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office since 1995, with responsibilities including traffic enforcement, narcotics and homicide investigations, and guarding Lee Harvey Oswald’s grave.
“Bill was a true living legend,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release on Facebook. “The oldest and longest running Peace Officer in the world. But more than that he was our brother and our friend. Bill never failed to share his knowledge with our new deputies and was always ready with a handshake and a smile. His presence within the walls of this agency will be truly missed. But his legacy will never be forgotten.”
Hardin previously told the Texas Bucket List he had served in law enforcement for so many years because he loves people. “That’s really what makes you like police work … when you’re able to save a life or help somebody,” he said. “In my time, I have helped a bunch.” (RELATED: State Trooper Receives Six Figures In Donations After Crash)
CBS 11 interviewed Hardin in 2022. “I’m afraid to stop, because I don’t have a starter,” he said, speaking about why he was not retired. “I may not get started again … so I’m going to keep doing this until the sheriff runs me out. If I make it to 75, I may retire.”