PASCO, Wash.-- It's been almost 20-years since a Washington State Patrol Trooper was murdered during a traffic stop in Pasco, a heartbreaking tragedy that many still remember like it was yesterday.
Enough time has passed that trooper Jim Saunders two children are now becoming adults, one of them even graduating college this spring.
And after graduation we learned his daughter will follow in her father's footsteps, working for WSP.
Megan Saunders says, "It just sort of happened to be that there was a position available."
The first job out of college is always a memorable moment but for Megan Saunders, accepting a position with our state patrol allows her to carry on the legacy of her father, Jim.
He was killed in October 1999 during a traffic stop in Pasco.
Megan Saunders says, "When he was killed I was 2 and a half but my mom did a really amazing job at keeping his memory alive."
Jim Saunders had served with WSP for 9 years before he was murdered.
A heartache that has stuck with many in the Tri-Cities community.
Megan Saunders says, "My dad dedicated his life to serving the public through WSP. Doing the same, but in a different way. To communicate with the public, that's really meaningful to me."
Now, almost 20 years later... Jim’s daughter, Megan, is joining the thin blue line.
A move that means something to the entire Washington State Patrol, who has been by her side since she was a toddler.
Capt. Alexander says, "It means so much to so many of us. I have gotten so many comments from so many people about her coming to work for us and how it just touches their heart."
Touching hearts including that of the Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste, who recruited Megan’s father, many years ago.
Capt. Alexander says, "I am so impressed with how well adjusted she is based on what she’s gone through in her life and not have her father."
Because her father was taken from her so young, troopers have stepped in over the years, going to graduations and birthdays of Megan and her brother.
Capt. Alexander says, "Jim can't be here, so we have to be, we have to fill those shoes, and you know why we do it? It's because that's what he would do."
Joining is an easy decision for Megan.
Megan Saunders says, "Because the state patrol has been family to me, they've been there for me and different events throughout my life."
And by no means an easy job to land.
Capt. Saunders says, "I almost can't believe it, she was able to make it through all the hurdles, sometimes that's really hard, some of our best people that we really think are going to make it don't."
But she did, and now she'll be carrying on what her father left behind.
Megan will begin working for the Washington State Patrol in Olympia after she graduates this spring.
She will be doing communications work, especially on social media, so you will be seeing her posts in a few months.