Law enforcement officers have a tough job and on the Coast, they do it well.
As National Police Week draws to a close, we have several chances across the Coast to say thank you to the men and women who make our communities safer.
Many already have.
Police officers were treated to a lunch buffet at Handsboro Baptist Church in Gulfport. And a cake from a nearby Wal-Mart arrived at headquarters. Lunch also was on Wal-Mart at the Ocean Springs Police Department. Residents from The Gardens Senior Living Center in Ocean Springs brought officers goodie bags. Pass Christian had Coffee with a Cop. In D’Iberville, it was Chicken with the Chiefs.
Of course, there is a somber side to the week of honor.
In Gulfport, a ceremony is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday at the Robert J. Curry Public Safety Center downtown to remember the city’s eight fallen officers.
Thursday in Jackson County, Sheriff’s Department officers placed wreaths at the graves of six deputies killed in the line of duty. Officers from Pascagoula and Ocean Springs also laid wreaths. State troopers will do the same at the graves of six troopers killed while on duty in the six South Mississippi counties. In Biloxi, a service honored its fallen officers. A memorial service was held at the Hancock County Courthouse in Bay St. Louis.
In Harrison County, they are mourning the death of one of their own, retired Capt. John Massengill who was buried Thursday.
And in the midst of all the memorials, one Gulfport officer captured the Coast’s attention and many of our hearts when he pulled over his squad car and tended to an injured kitten in the middle of U.S. 49. Motorist Annie Glass Grinnell captured the moment in a photograph.
“It was a tragedy to see the little kitten in peril, but truly beautiful to witness such a thoughtful act of sensitivity and kindness,” she said.
And that’s why South Mississippi has such a special relationship with its law enforcement agencies and officers. They are more than police, they are part of our community. They pitch in where needed, raise money for our causes and mourn our losses.
They are us. And we appreciate them every day, even if we sometimes forget to let them know.
So today, we stop and say thank you. And if you encounter an officer today, tell them thanks. That will make their day.
The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.