Meet Sargeant. A.W. Waddell, one man you don't want to see walking up in your rearview mirror. Actually, this seasoned state trooper is a teddy bear ... a hulking, armed teddy bear who can outdrive most of those Nascar guys, spot a drunk driver from three miles away and recite a list of good places to eat from Murphy to Manteo. These days Sargeant Waddell spends much of his time clipping on microphones and answering silly questions, as any Piedmont news crew who's huddled with him in the breakdown lane can attest. I've quizzed many a law enforcer. This friendly giant is as good as they get.
But I guess that goes with the award-winning uniform. As long as I've been chasing carwrecks (far, far too long), I've been most impressed with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. And I'm not just saying that because they've humored me on so many ride-alongs. I especially enjoy the Public Information Officers, charming, avuncular types who can answer your every question or put you in a crushing headlock, whichever way you direct the conversation. As for Sargeant Waddell, you won't meet a nicer guy - though if he told me to hand him my license, registration and spleen, I'd politely comply.