Pine Belt officers talk about being part of the ‘thin blue line’

Pine Belt officers talk about being part of the ‘thin blue line’

JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Within just a few days, WDAM has reported two instances where gunfire has been exchanged between law enforcement officers and suspects. On Sunday, a Biloxi police officer lost his life while in the line of duty.

“These officers are out there putting their life on the line for you and your family,” said Maj. Jamie Tedford, with the Jones County Sheriff’s Office.

With a duty to protect and serve, Tedford said law enforcement officers come face-to-face with situations most people couldn’t fathom. Some cases include an underlying element of hate.

“I think that is what’s happening and why these incidents are occurring more and more is because of the hate and demoralizing and demonizing of law enforcement across the entire nation,” said Tedford.

This story takes you back to 2009.

“I opened the door, and the guy had the gun in his hand,” said Lt. Michael Reeves, with the Laurel Police Department.

“He pulled out a small caliber handgun, and the next thing I know, I hear shots ring out,” said LPD Investigator Kim Stewart.

Stewart remembers the most vivid details from 10 years ago as LPD officers closed in on a wanted man.

“In the process, I ended up getting shot twice in the line of duty,” said Stewart.

“I remember asking him, ‘are you hit?’” Reeves said.

Stewart was shot once in the right foot and a second time in the left leg.

“Officer Stewart come out and he was on the front porch. I remember looking at his face thinking something isn’t right,” LPD Chief Tommy Cox said.

Stewart, now with 15 years of service under his belt, remembers the outpouring of love and support he received from the community.

“All the guys at the police department and the surrounding counties supported me and had my back. It was a blue line that you wouldn’t believe. So much support,” said Stewart.

Officers say that is what gets a department through the trials and tribulations.

“I think that everyone that goes out and puts on a uniform, gun and badge, everyday to some extent is a hero,” said Reeves.

Tedford said it’s a calling to protect and serve.

“It hits near to each one of us whenever an officer is killed in the line of duty. They are in our prayers as well as our brothers and sisters in blue at the Biloxi Police Department,” said Tedford.

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