Fallen Mississippi Troopers HonoredBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 16 May 2012 03:07pm |
Mississippi Law Enforcement leaders are honoring the police officers and highway patrol troopers that have died in the line of duty. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports the series of memorials are part of National Law Enforcement Officers week.
Mississippi Troopers sound a 21-gun salute in memory of the 32 troopers that have died in the line of duty since 1940.
Their surviving family members placed a rose on a memorial in Jackson Wednesday morning to commemorate their loss.
Brenda Langham is the widow of Trooper Billy Langham who was shot on New Year’s Eve in 1981 during a traffic stop.
She says the yearly memorial is difficult but important.
"It is hard. It really is. And I know there are a lot of other people that have lost husbands but when it is you; you feel like I am the only one. I am the only that has lost such a great man. And knowing that I am not, but that is how it feels sometimes. But the Mississippi Highway Patrol, they are our family," Langham said.
The most recent trooper to die was Steve Hood, who died in a car crash during a high speed chase in 2009.
His son Matthew just graduated from the most recent trooper school and says his father's death played a role in his decision to become a trooper.
"It is definitely dangerous but I feel that I was called to do this. Been in a few situations, I can relate to the job now. More so than in previous years. It gives me a better insight into what he went through for 26 years," Hood said.
Governor Phil Bryant spoke at the ceremony and laid a wreath in honor of the officers.
Bryant is a former sheriff's Deputy and says he can identify with the troopers because he was once caught in the cross fire of a gun battle.
"Thinking back on it we made the arrest. Shrugged our shoulders. Said how lucky we were and went on. That is what happens when they miss. Unfortunately, in this situations a lot of times we lose officers life because of it," Bryant said.
There will be another memorial in downtown Jackson tonight honoring all law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty....Including Pearl police officer Michael Walter who was shot and killed earlier this month.
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