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Hyde-Smith honors fallen Mississippi police officers

Jackson Police Motorcycles (Image from JPD via FB)

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today committed continued support for law enforcement in National Police Week 2022 tributes to honor law enforcement officers and to recognize those Mississippi officers who died in the line of duty in 2021.

Hyde-Smith recorded an appreciation message for law enforcement and wrote a Congressional Record statement that commemorates fallen officers from Mississippi.

“I want to make it known to all the law enforcement officers across the state of Mississippi and around the country that I greatly admire you for your rock-solid tenacity and loyalty throughout such challenges.  I will continue to work to ensure you have what you need to do your job,” Hyde-Smith said.

Mississippi’s fallen officers are among 619 officers whose legacies will be honored during Police Week ceremonies at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., and various ceremonies from May 15-21.

“These officers, who are truly hometown heroes, are strongholds in our communities, and the loss of any officer is deeply felt by all.  This Police Week, we honor and mourn five heroes from Mississippi—officers who died in the line of duty in 2021,” Hyde-Smith said.  “To the families and loved ones of our fallen Mississippi law enforcement officers, I know you have faced enormous loss.  It is said, ‘The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.’   Please know that it is my prayer that the Lord stays near you during your time of grief.  God bless you, and God bless our men and women in blue.”

Those fallen officers who gave their lives in 2021 include:  Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol Trooper John Martin Harris; Jefferson Davis County Deputy Sheriff Thomas Patrick “Pat” Barnes; Hancock County Lieutenant Michael Anthony Boutte, Sr.; George County Deputy Sheriff Bobby Daffin; and Hinds County Sheriff Lee D. Vance.

In addition, Deputy Town Marshal Walker Cobb of Saucier, who was fatally shot in 1903, in the line of duty, will be honored.

Read Hyde-Smith’s Congressional Record statement for 2022 National Police Week here:

Mr. President, every single day, law enforcement officers across the nation put on a badge and leave for work to protect and serve our families and communities, not knowing if they will return to their own.  Whether it be by ensuring safety on our roadways or responding to life-or-death crises, these brave men and women consistently honor their solemn oath in safeguarding the people of this blessed nation. 

As we commemorate 2022 National Law Enforcement Week, we offer special honors for the 619 officers our nation lost last year in the line of duty, sadly including officers from Mississippi.  This week is dedicated to remembering their ultimate sacrifice, which is dearly felt by loved ones, friends, and entire communities. 

Law enforcement officers have remained steadfast in their commitment to serve, even when faced with harsh, unfair criticism, scrutiny, and limited resources.  Their ability to carry out their already stressful duties in such a challenging and sometimes hostile environment is remarkable. 

I want to make it known to all the law enforcement officers across the state of Mississippi and around the country that I greatly admire you for your rock solid tenacity and loyalty throughout such challenges.  I will continue to work to ensure you have what you need to do your job.  

These officers, who are truly hometown heroes, are strongholds in our communities, and the loss of any officer is deeply felt by all.  This Police Week, we honor and mourn five heroes from Mississippi—officers who died in the line of duty in 2021. 

Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol Trooper John Martin Harris, 44, died on May 28, 2021, after a vehicle struck him during a traffic stop.  Harris’ childhood dream was to be a policeman and serve his community.  Having earned two Purple Hearts throughout his 24-year law enforcement career is a testament to his dedication, bravery, and selflessness.  He leaves behind his wife and his two children. 

Jefferson Davis County Deputy Sheriff Thomas Patrick “Pat” Barnes, 50, lost his life on April 10, 2021, after he sustained injuries in a single vehicle car crash while responding to a call for assistance from another agency.  Barnes’ passion for law enforcement began while working in security.  He joined and graduated from the Police Academy in 2017 and began his career with Jefferson Davis County Sheriff’s department shortly thereafter.  He leaves behind his wife, four children, and his grandchildren. 

Hancock County Lieutenant Michael Anthony Boutte, Sr. was tragically shot and killed after responding to an emergency situation involving a suicidal man who turned his weapon onto arriving deputies.  He died on February 1, 2021, at the age of 57.  Before his law enforcement career, Boutte served in the United States Air Force, where he was deployed during Operation Desert Storm.  Boutte is survived by his wife, his child, his step-children, and his grandchildren. 

Deputy Sheriff Bobby Daffin of George County Sheriff’s Office passed away August 12, 2021, following a battle with COVID-19.  He was 37 years-old.  Daffin served his community for 14 years, and had recently served as a narcotics agent for the Southeast Mississippi Narcotics Task Force.  He leaves behind a young daughter. 

Hinds County Sheriff Lee D. Vance, 63, lost his life from cardiorespiratory failure as a result of COVID-19 on August 3, 2021.  Vance, who has always had a love for the City of Jackson, served as Jackson Police Chief from 2014-2017, and was later elected Hinds County Sheriff in 2019.  He leaves behind four daughters, a son, and numerous grandchildren. 

We also honor the lives of many officers’ whose stories of sacrifice had been lost to history, until now. 

In addition to these recent losses, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial will include the name of Deputy Town Marshal Walker Cobb of Saucier, Mississippi.  At the age of 41, Cobb was fatally shot on December 25, 1903, while attempting to arrest an impaired suspect for disorderly conduct.  More than a century later, his loss and sacrifice will be remembered. 

Throughout our nation’s history, our men and women in blue have often risked personal peril to safeguard their fellow citizens, and we owe them our staunch support.  As we mark National Police Week, let us acknowledge our debt to these fallen officers and recommit ourselves to support them and their families, especially when tragedy strikes. 

I will continue to be an advocate for law enforcement professionals and do all I can to honor the legacy of those lost in the line of duty.  

To the families and loved ones of our fallen Mississippi law enforcement officers, I know you have faced enormous loss.  It is said, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”  Please know that it is my prayer that the Lord stays near you during your time of grief.  God bless you, and God bless our men and women in blue.

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