JEFFERSON COUNTY, ILLINOIS (NewsFirst) — We are very sad to share the news that Deputy Leslie Paulson unexpectedly passed away on March 2. She had recently been diagnosed with cancer, but was looking forward to working in a light duty assignment until she could resume full duty in the Transportation Unit for the jail. Leslie was part of our JCSO family for almost 30 years, and we join her husband John, their three grown daughters, and two young grandchildren in missing Leslie and her bold and bright personality.

For the past 7 years, Leslie helped transport inmates and she LOVED it. She enjoyed meeting new people along the way, having meaningful conversations with coworkers and colleagues during their drives, and treating inmates with respect and compassion for the short time they were in her care. Sharing just a small part of her personal life had a large impact on those she transported, and sharing her entire professional career with us will have a lasting effect on the JCSO.

Leslie lived by relationships, and she didn’t know a stranger. Her family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and inmates all mattered to her. Taking care of them was her first priority, and her greatest gift. She used compassion, joy, and humor to lift people up, and we were honored to benefit from her friendship for so many years.

Leslie’s family now knows that she was “here for a good time, not a long time.” And what a good time it was! Mostly BECAUSE of her family, but also – she loved to have fun! She bought a swimming pool during COVID so she would have a place to hang out with her friends. And every year she grew a vegetable garden – never an actual vegetable, but always a garden. And she never lost in Blackhawk – she may have spent $50 to win $30, but she WON $30! Leslie rented the fun cars, crashed the cool parties, sat with the strangers, stretched ALL the rules, and loved the life she made with her family and with us.

And we loved her.

Rest in peace Deputy Paulson.