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Father Returns To Uniform To Honor Fallen Deputy

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A year after a Cumberland County deputy died while responding to a 911 call, his father has donned a uniform and badge to serve in his place.

Christopher Brian Matthews was killed Sept. 30, 2005, when his patrol car ran off River Road in northern Cumberland County and overturned as he was responding to a call. The 28-year-old had been a deputy for three years when he died.

Matthews' father, Ron, was a Cumberland County deputy 20 years ago before leaving law enforcement and pursuing a career in sales. But he is taking to the streets again in honor of his son.

"I just feel like the example I set and the job that I help Brian finish, that's my goal," Ron Matthews said.

His son's death is an inspiration to him, just as his time as a deputy was to his son. He recalls 4-year-old Brian sitting in his patrol car.

"He never expressed a lot, but you could look in his face and tell (he was thinking), 'This is good,'" Ron Matthews said.

Matthews has worked as an reserve officer for another agency for years. But in recent months he has become recertified with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office. He's been sworn in, has completed 420 hours of training and has been issued a new uniform and a handgun.

He plans on keeping his sales job, noting he's serving as a deputy only part time and entirely voluntarily.

"I can help get (the word) out there that they're not just people just riding around with clean uniforms and shiny cars. They're working for the public, and it's not an easy job," he said.

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