JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WHLT) — Today officers across the country celebrate National Peace Officer Memorial Day.
The communities of Jones County and Laurel gathered with other law enforcement agencies to honor the lives of fallen officers.
A candle light flickered to remember those lost during today’s ceremony. Mississippi Highway Patrol Lieutenant Trea Staples shared with us his near-death experience and why he continues to wear his badge.
“Several people encouraged and really pushed for me to hang it up. But that’s not the way God constructed me, it’s not what he wants me to do. I’ve prayed about it continuously, and he’s still telling me to keep doing what he made me to do,” said Lt. Staples.
A gunman in Tishsomingo County opened fire on him and his partner while responding to a hostage situation in 2016; leaving Staples injured and taking the life of Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Agent James Lee Tartt.
Even though speaking at events like these are emotional.
“It’ll always be that way for me,” he said.
It gives those listening a personal perspective.
“It really inspires them to you know have everything right with their loved ones when they leave for work. Also to train and do everything they possibly can to prepare for any deadly force encounter that they may face.”
Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge said ceremonies like this are held national-wide because they are a wonderful moving service that touches so many people, in different ways.
“Today obviously is being recognized across the the country and a lot of emotions go through all of us during times like this, having lost officers in the line of duty.
The ceremony was followed by a procession to the grave site of fallen Jones County officer Randy Chancellor who was killed in 2001.