Forrest County and HPD honor fallen officers

Forrest County and HPD honor fallen officers
HPD and Forrest County memorial

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - For the first time the Hattiesburg Police Department and Forrest County Sheriff's Department joined together to honor their fallen officers.

"We all got together and felt this would be the best opportunity for us to do like the community has done and that is for us to show some unity," said Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree.

In total, 11 officers from Forrest County and HPD have been killed in the line of duty, with the most recent being Officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate.

Families of officers killed in the line of duty attended the service, receiving hugs, words of encouragement, and were reminded that "they are in fact, not alone."

"The police department has always said you're family, and my dad was killed when I was 3 months old, and I am still part of their family and they let me know that every day," said Debbie Everett, daughter of fallen HPD officer, Jessie James Everett.

Everyone coming together in a time of tragedy has done the community well.

"Children, old people, adults, race, creed, it doesn't matter, we all were showing respect for these two men, it was just heartwarming, and I was just so proud to see the response of Hattiesburg, they have made me proud to be a citizen of Hattiesburg," said Everett.

This was not just a ceremony to honor the fallen, but to celebrate the living that continues their watch.

"Police officers are police officers, they may wear a different badge, one may be a shield, one may be a star, one may wear a blue shirt, one may wear a white shirt, colors of the cars look different, but they are still peace officers, they are police officers," said DuPree.