National Police Week observed with memorial in Tupelo
Veteran officers and cadets at NMLETC honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice
TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – It is National Police Week, a time to remember and honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting and serving.
For Houston Police Chief Adam Harmon, the Northeast Mississippi Law Enforcement Memorial has special meaning. He knows many of the officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, among them, his brother Casey.
Harmon, a third-generation officer, was the guest speaker. He has worn the badge for over 25 years and believes there’s a big need for those willing to protect and serve.
“Enrollment is low, morale is low in law enforcement, we are doing our best to change that mentality, doing community policing, going to schools, to show young people why we do what we do,” Harmon said.
Harmon said he was encouraged to see cadets from B73 at the North Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Center at the solemn ceremony.
Cadets live at the academy throughout the week, for twelve weeks, learning how to become one team and also learning about the responsibilities that come when they wear the badge.
“The biggest thing for them to remember is doing the right thing and even when no one is looking, do the right thing at all times, they will be scrutinized at every opportunity, people with cameras recording, as long as they’re doing the right thing, I tell them not to worry about it,” said Dean Bearden, director of the academy.
“As chief of Saltillo, I understood there weren’t as many people who wanted to be police officers as when I started, when I started you had to fight to get in somewhere, now sometimes people get hired out of necessity, hopefully, things will turn around,” said Dan McKinney, who recently retired as Chief of Saltillo Police Department.
For cadets, the ceremony was a stark reminder of the dangers they could face on the streets.
“It was quiet after we left, but it brings it into perspective what we’re getting into but it strengthens our resolve of what we may have to do,” said Cadet James Callahan.
“Seeing family members of the ones who passed away, it was humbling. We have an important job but also have the goal to make it home to our families,” said Cadet Kagan McKinney.
Cadets in class B73 have six more weeks in the academy before graduation.
In Tupelo, Police Week wraps up Saturday with the “Blessed are the Peacemakers 5K” at Fairpark. All proceeds go to buy body armor for local police officers.
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