HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Last week, I spent a day with a Hattiesburg police officer.
Captain Tim Jackson, patrol supervisor with the Hattiesburg Police Department, said the job of an officer can be emotional at times.
"Over time you learn to control your emotions while you are at work," said Jackson. "Once you leave you don't necessarily maintain that composure. A lot of times you break down and cry like a baby when nobody's around or you're out of the public eye."
During our ride there were a few light moments. Those are the moments that officers cherish.
"Do you like my prisoner back there?" Jackson joked with some kids, describing me and the photographer.
"Those same kids a few years from now are going to be adults," said Jackson. He said that sort of interaction is good for the community and police department.
Jackson stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation. The man did not have a driver's license and owed hundreds of dollars in fines. Officers took him into custody and transported him to the police department to pay those fines.
Moments later Jackson spotted a suspicious person on a bike. He tried to question the man, but the jetted away on the bike. That led to a response from several officers who went looking for the man.
Residents of a nearby neighborhood tried to point officers in the direction the man went.
Later on, officers with the NET and STRIKE teams received a tip on the location of a felon. Witnesses said the suspect left the location just before officers arrived.
"Someone called the officer and said they're getting in the car leaving, so everybody jumped in their vehicles to get over there and stop them," said Jackson.
Our one day on the job can never tell the full story of the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and years that police officers work to protect citizens. A walk in their shoes is only a story they can tell.
"When you make a positive difference in somebody's life or save somebody's life it's worth it," Jackson added.