Eight New Police Officers Start Training
While prayers are going up for our law enforcement officers, eight people are being trained for and by the Biloxi Police Department.
An elite group with diverse backgrounds, News 25’s Gina Tomlinson takes us to their first day of training and shows us what they bring to the department.
They protect and serve, but with each day their protection is of greater concern as innocent law enforcement officers find themselves in the crosshairs of angry citizens lashing out over police-involved killings.
Ashleigh Pack knows all too well the dangers of the job. She is one of eight trainees selected for the Biloxi Police Department and also a veteran of two South Mississippi police forces. “We may be the light to the worst day of their life. If we can just put a little bit of light on something they’re going through, then hopefully that’s something that they can reflect on and help to deal with whatever situation they’re going through.”
Four of the trainees are African American, three are women and one is a white male. Biloxi Police Chief John Miller says the department has been trying for quite some time to bring more diversity to the squad. “We’ve worked very hard to try and hire minorities over the last three to four years.”
Multiple evaluations, a lie detector test, a background check, Chief Miller tells News 25 the officers had to go through a lot to get to training and they still have a way to go before they can wear the badge. “They would have not gotten this far if everything hadn’t check out enough to make us believe that they’re strong ethical people.”
Qualified officers from various backgrounds and levels of experience are all getting armed to protect and serve the citizens of Biloxi, a place they already consider home. Officer in Training Hollis Smith said, “I feel nothing but welcomed here. With the family atmosphere I am feeling with the police department and the city, I feel that will carry through our work in the community.”