On Tuesday, Aug. 15, Ed Leslie, a self-professed “numbers person,” presented DARE officer Duncan Wiggins with 300 shares of stock — in Taser International.
“What more appropriate kind of stock?” Wiggins said.
Police Chief Hollis Alexander said the value of the donation currently stands at approximately $2,800.
Leslie spent 25 years purchasing paper for Sears’ mail-order catalogues. He also developed a taste for playing the stock-market.
He became interested in Tasers — hand-held weapons that are also known as stun-guns, that deliver electric jolts of up to 50,000 volts — several years ago, when he saw one owned by his future daughter-in-law.
He promptly bought a couple hundred shares, which he said “didn’t move” in value for about three years.
As their ability to bring assailants down became increasingly popular with law-enforcement officials, however, the stock began to climb steadily. In fact, individual stocks were worth more than $30 last Christmas.
Its worth has taken a severe hit as of late, however, as coroners across the country have cited Taser as a cause of death in a handful of cases. Most reports, however, cited Taser as a secondary factor overshadowed by drug use or heart problems.
Alexander said the stocks currently sit slightly over $9 per share and have been on a slight up-tick.
Though Leslie said he suggested Cadiz Police should consider selling the stock, Alexander isn’t in a rush.
“We’ll watch [the stock], and when we think its worth all it can be worth, we’ll cash it,” he said.
Alexander said that the DARE program — which is funded exclusively by private donations, with the exception of pay for DARE officer Wiggins — has enough funds for the next two school years.
Therefore, Alexander said, the program can afford to wait, hopefully extracting “every bit of value out of the donation that we can.”
Wiggins said the DARE program, short for Drug Awareness and Resistance Education, began in Cadiz in 1988, five years after the program got its start in Los Angeles in 1983.
Wiggins became a DARE officer in January of 1997, after two week of the hardest training he’s faced as a police officer.
“It surprised me,” Wiggins said.
“It was like going to college,” he said of the training program, which involved presentations, cramming, papers with references and a final.
Wiggins didn’t mind the effort, however, as he knew his comfort with speaking in front of groups made it a great opportunity for him.
“I can really help with this … I can make a difference,” he said.
Because the DARE program is almost exclusively funded by donations, it is fortunate that many in the public agree so strongly that it is a great opportunity that they donate funds to keep it afloat.
Wiggins said the program receives support from local industry and businesses, civic organizations and walk-in donations. He said Cadiz children themselves have also helped out in the form of a lemonade stand.
For the rest of this story, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.