After twenty-six years of service, Colonel Chris Gillard has announced his retirement from the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol (MHP) effective June 30, 2020.
Gillard was appointed to serve as Assistant Commissioner of Public Safety and MHP Colonel over the state’s largest law enforcement agency in February 2016. Prior to his appointment as Colonel, Gillard served in the rank of Lt. Colonel as Director of the Driver Service Bureau. Over the years he served as Director of Training, Executive Officer to the Commissioner of Public Safety, Governor’s Executive Protection Detail, Drug Trafficking Interdiction Officer, and Highway Safety Patrol Recruiter.
After an injury during his first attempt at Patrol School sidelined him, he was determined to go back and graduate in the next class offered which was Cadet Class 49 in 1994. That positive willpower served him well throughout his career at the Mississippi Department of Public Safety as he worked hard to be a role model over the years hoping others would follow in his footsteps.
“I would like to thank the men and women of the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol along with the employees of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety who worked under my direction as Colonel and Assistant Commissioner. We are blessed to have a great team of dedicated public servants who will continue working hard to protect the citizens of our great state. I am especially thankful for the support and prayers over the years from my wife, mother, family, and friends who encouraged me along the way.”
Colonel Gillard has been recognized throughout his career in law enforcement and in his community as a member of the DUI 100 Club (1994-1996), Outstanding Trooper of the Year (1997), Mississippi’s 25 Most Influential African Americans by Our Mississippi Magazine (2019), and Mississippi Trailblazer of the Year (2019).
“Colonel Gillard has been a strong leader within the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and a brave public servant within the Mississippi Highway Patrol dedicated to making Mississippi a better and safer place for all who call our great state home. Never letting anything sideline his commitment to protect his fellow Mississippians, it has been an honor to work with him over the years. Colonel Gillard leaves behind an impressive legacy, and we wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors,” said Governor Tate Reeves.
When asked about his legacy, Colonel Gillard wants people to know that anything is possible with a strong faith in God and the willful determination to never give up pursuing one’s goals. In his retirement, he will continue mentoring young people and providing inspiration. Through his testimony regarding a kid who grew up in government housing, he aspired to fulfill a dream to serve and protect others never knowing that it would lead him here today.