For Lisa Beaulieu, becoming a police officer was her life's ambition. She wanted to protect and serve the citizens of the community that she loved. Lisa worked hard at becoming a peace officer, and it didn't come easy for her. To gain experience, she worked as a jailer in Dayton, Texas while putting herself through the police academy at Lamar Institute of Technology. And when she graduated, Lisa got a job as a dispatcher at the Beaumont Police Department. To gain more experience as a law enforcement officer, Lisa became an unpaid part-time reserve officer with the Kountze Police Department in Texas. After years of determination, Lisa was hired by the Beaumont Police Department as a patrol officer in 2001.
For 6 years, Officer Lisa Beaulieu was, as many officers are, the first line of defense between the good and the evil of our community. She was dedicated to her job, and she took it seriously. Friends of Lisa stated that, when off duty, she was a girly girl. She loved the color pink, she always had manicured nails and pedicured toes, and had a closet full of shoes. Lisa had a smile that could light up a room and a great sense of humor, often telling men that would hit on her that she was just a driver's education instructor. She was dedicated to the family she had and her friends, and she cherished the moments she spent with them. She was also an avid animal lover, housing two dogs that she adopted from the animal shelter.
During the devastation of Hurricane Rita, Lisa took care of the citizens of Beaumont and her law enforcement family. She worked long, tireless 12-hour days, patrolling the hurricane's aftermath and caring for the residents of Beaumont. For her fellow officers, she turned her own garage into a makeshift shelter, offering them a place to come and get some rest before heading back into the disaster zone.
Friends stated that when she put on her uniform, however, she was all business. She was fearless and Texas tough, invincible when she wore the badge of a peace officer. Known as the type of officer who would set an example for others, Lisa's police file was filled with commendations from Chief Tom Scofield.
Around 1 a.m. Friday morning, April 27, the seasoned Officer Beaulieu responded to the scene of a motorcycle accident on the Eastex Freeway in Beaumont. She began directing traffic around the accident, allowing motorists to pass. While controlling the accident scene and out of the darkness of the night, a car driven by 24-year-old Willie McCray slammed into Officer Beaulieu, knocking her over the guard rail and onto the road below, killing her. She became the first female police officer in Southeast Texas killed in the line of duty.
Mr. Speaker, this is a photograph of Lisa Beaulieu. The Beaumont Texas community was stunned by the loss of this veteran peace officer. Some news reports, however, have tried to portray the person who ran over Lisa as the victim instead of her. McCray was not the victim, he was the offender. McCray's driver's license was suspended and he had no liability insurance. He had been arrested eight times for minor crimes. And the worst part, McCray was allegedly drunk and believed to be high on marijuana when he was blasting down the road. McCray has been charged with the intoxicated manslaughter in the death of this peace officer of Texas. He robbed the Beaumont community and Officer Beaulieu's family of a dedicated law officer.
Yesterday, I had the honor to attend her funeral, where over 1,000 citizens, law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency personnel throughout Southeast Texas were all in attendance showing their support for their fallen comrade. The peace officers present wore a black ribbon of sorrow across their badges as they paid a last farewell to Lisa Beaulieu.
Mr. Speaker, Officer Beaulieu exemplified what it meant to be a peace officer. She was a protector of the innocent, the community, and her fellow peace officers. Officer Beaulieu wore the badge with pride, honor, and courage. The people and peace officers of Texas are saddened by the loss of one of their dedicated servants.
As a former Texas judge, I have known a lot of peace officers in my day, and some of them were superior peace officers. Lisa was one of those superior officers. Officers like Lisa Beaulieu serve us well and are on duty in the middle of the night so that the rest of us can sleep with safety and security.
And that's just the way it is.