Tuesday, May 15, 2012
"The men and women of law enforcement--federal, state and local--are bound together by our common vocation, but it is more than just a job. It is more than just a career. It is more than just a profession. It is a personal mission. It is a mission that requires deep commitment. Indeed, commitment to duty and honor is at the very heart of what it means to be a member of the law enforcement community."
Those were the words of FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Jackson field office Daniel McMullen at a ceremony Tuesday honoring police officers killed in the line of duty in Mississippi in the last year.
McMullen, who earned his bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Texas at Arlington and his master's in public administration from the University of Southern California, has served in the FBI since November 1991. He also served in the U.S. Army, where he earned the rank of Captain.
The ceremony, held outside the JPD station on Pascagoula Street, also marked the recognition of National Police Week. McMullen spoke about the service of living police officers, as well as those who have died on duty.
"We in Mississippi have seen, up close, far too many reminders of the inherent dangers facing those who serve in law enforcement," McMullen said. "The loss of Pearl police officer Michael J. Walter is still scratched in our hearts and in our minds. In 2011, Madison police officer Jimmy Brooks and Grenada police officer John Wayne Haddock lost their lives while serving on duty. And this week, their names are being added to the National Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial in Washington, D.C."
Officers choose to take the risk of losing their lives every day to serve their communities, McMullen said.
"To some, such a choice might seem incomprehensible--to go to work each day, knowing that you may not make it home that night, knowing that your life and the lives of your loved ones might forever be changed," McMullen said. "But for those men and women, it is a commitment freely made, a commitment renewed every day."
The reward attached to the risk is the satisfaction of a duty well done. That duty includes keeping citizens safe, getting criminals off the streets and contributing to the workings of justice, McMullen said.
Officers, alive and dead, deserve more than one day per year honoring the fallen or a single moment of silence, McMullen said.
"As we leave here today, let us each question how we might better serve them," McMullen said. "We as citizens can support and assist our police officers as they protect our homes and our neighborhoods. They deserve our best efforts."