Daniel V. Leftridge

Former Bel Air Police Officer And Harford County Deputy Sheriff Received Numerous Honors For His Work

July 03, 2009|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

Daniel V. Leftridge, a retired veteran Harford County police officer who was later a deputy sheriff, died of cancer June 24 at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air. The Street resident was 65.

Born in Havre de Grace, he was raised on a Forest Hill farm and graduated from Bel Air High School in 1961. He initially worked on his family's farm. After the death of his parents, he joined the Bel Air Police Department. He also worked at times for his brother in a cinder block-laying business.

"He was a combination of a great police officer and a man with common sense," said Todd Holden, a former Aegis newspaper photographer-reporter who photographed Mr. Leftridge on his first day of work in 1967.

Mr. Leftridge, who was then 23, was one of six full-time police officers in Bel Air. He soon made local news by leading a raid on a marijuana crop being grown in a Harford County cornfield. He found out that a rock band from Baltimore had rented the property and was growing the illegal drug. He also led a raid on one of Harford County's alcohol stills.

"He had a flair for investigations," said his former wife, Patricia Parker Nave. "Police work was his life."

After working for two years as a police corporal, he was named Bel Air's detective sergeant, a position created as a trial for one year that was subsequently renewed. He was given a used police car, which his department painted gold. He drove the unmarked vehicle throughout the town, where it became known as the Golden Goose.

He was named the Bel Air Policeman of the Year in 1969 and 1970, and then requested that he not be given the honor again.

Mr. Leftridge later joined the Aberdeen Police Department and went on to the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

There he received that office's Purple Heart for a knee injury he suffered when a disturbance broke out in the Harford County Court House in June 2000.

When the jury brought a guilty verdict in an armed robbery case, the defendant's family created a disruption, according to a citation later given Mr. Leftridge.

Court personnel called for help, and Mr. Leftridge and other deputies entered the courtroom as the defendant charged the judge's bench. The deputies attempted to restrain the defendant with pepper spray and subdue him physically. During the scuffle, Mr. Leftridge's knee was severely injured.

"He was a small guy and very tough," said Aegis publisher John Worthington. "He was a true believer in what he thought was right and wrong. He was the sort of Bel Air town officer that everybody knew. He loved his job, and he loved Bel Air."

Services were held Wednesday in Abingdon.

Survivors include a son, Terry Leftridge of Street; two daughters, Donna Ferrer of Las Vegas and Christine Kovacs of Street; four brothers, Bill Leftridge of South Carolina, Frank Leftridge of Delta, Pa., Jim Leftridge of Stewartstown, Pa., and Dick Leftridge of Bayard, Neb.; six sisters, Nancy Crockett of Virginia Beach, Va., Lois Harward of Bel Air, Shirley Greer of Roseland, Va., Ann Heisey of Okemar. Mich., Sally Sexton of La Plata and Phyllis Walker of Topeka, Kan.; eight grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

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