05/11/04 — "Angel 1" honors Wayne law officers

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"Angel 1" honors Wayne law officers

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on May 11, 2004 2:02 PM

A law-enforcement angel descended Monday on Wayne County, bearing special plaques, ribbons and other honors for the officers who she says work in deplorable conditions.

Lisa L. Leduc, called "Angel 1" and the "law-enforcement diva," has conducted a one-woman crusade to help law enforcement, starting with the New York City Police Department on her birthday in 1981. Her stop in Goldsboro was No. 2,031. She has even attended drug busts.

Special recognition for police officers

News-Argus/Kaye Nesbit

Lisa Leduc, known as "Angel 1" and the "law-enforcement diva," pins an artificial orchid on the lapel of a Wayne County sheriff's officer. Sheriff Carey Winders, left, watches. Winders, Capt. James Tadlock and Maj. Billy Anderson received plaques, and others got ribbons with medals.

A native of Canada, she grew up in the British West Indies and now lives in Upstate New York, where she cares for a judge's wife who has Alzheimer's disease. She says she uses 40 percent of her salary to pay for her trips and awards.

During the ceremony at the Wayne Center, Ms. Leduc, 42, read a letter to President Bush, urging the White House to take the lead in funding better equipment and pay for the people she calls her beloved law-enforcement officers.

"What concerns me is their terrible lack of manpower and equipment," she said.

Ms. Leduc says her heart has been broken because of the conditions under which some officers work, noting the low pay and a shortage of patrol cars and even bulletproof vests and flashlights. She asked Bush to make law enforcement his priority.

She compared the plight of the American officer to those in her former homeland. She said officers in the British West Indies have a starting tax-free salary of $63,000 a year with free medical insurance and free meals. They must train 40 hours a week for two years before they are hired. Some audience members asked where they could sign up.

The murder of American officers, she says, "is an outrage." The last British West Indian officer was killed 27 years ago, and the culprit was put to death. Ms. Leduc said a person convicted of assault on an officer is sentenced to 205 years at hard labor. Even someone convicted of public drunkenness is sentenced to two years at hard labor. A drunken-driving conviction results in an 18-year sentence.

Women leave their purses on store counters so that they can shop with both hands, Ms. Leduc says, and they can return to pick them up later. Robbery is punishable by 42 years in prison. There is only one prison, and she says it is not full. She noted that most citizens know the law and the punishment.

Ms. Leduc grew up in law enforcement. Her grandfather, now 88, is a chief justice in the British West Indies and has sentenced 428 men to death, including two for marijuana possession. He also was appointed to the tribunal that will hear the trial of deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

She presented plaques to Sheriff Carey Winders; Capt. James Tadlock, the jail administrator, and Maj. Billy Anderson, the SWAT team commander.

Ms. Leduc presented special ribbons, each with a different inscription, to Winders; sheriff's Maj. Ray Smith; sheriff's Capt. John Winstead; Goldsboro Police Chief Tim Bell, who did not attend; and Capt. Rick Cox of the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Security Police for his commander, Lt. Col. Richard McComb; and the sheriff's dog team handlers, Cpl. Clytee Hawley, Deputies Randy Thompson, Karl Rabun, Michael Smiley and Special Deputy Jimmy Howell.

She presented tea services to Anderson, Tadlock, sheriff's Capt. George Raecher and Vance County Sheriff Thomas Breedlove.

Each officer also received an artificial orchid, because, she explained, British West Indian officers get an orchid on their first day at work.

Other special guests were Edgecombe County Sheriff James Knight; Police Chiefs Emmett Ballree of Mount Olive, Ben Reid of Fremont and Ken Barrett of Pikeville, and Highway Patrol Lt. Anthony Midgett.

She called them "ambassadors of the community."