In honor of the sacrifices, accomplishments, teamwork, customer service and continuous improvement shown by the Hattiesburg Police Department, Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Dryden has drafted a resolution celebrating and praising the department and pledging the city’s continued support of its efforts.
The resolution, which was passed at the July 21 council meeting, states that since its founding in 1903, the men and women of the department have taken an oath to serve and protect the citizens of Hattiesburg, and put their lives on the line each day by facing unknown challenges, dangers and threats that come with a career in law enforcement.
In addition, the city has mourned the loss of six police officers throughout the department’s history.
“When I look at the news and I see all the things that are going on across our country, it seems like a very difficult time for people to be in law enforcement,” said Dryden, who serves as council vice president. “There are incidents that have happened in other places that we don’t have happening here, and I think that’s because we have such fine men and women working for the police department, and we have strong leadership.
“They know how to handle things in a better way than to use excessive force, and things that are just inappropriate. And they are also open to more training, they try to understand people, they learn about mental health, and this is ongoing. They’re always trying to improve and get better.”
The resolution goes on to state that Hattiesburg police officers are among the most well-trained law enforcement professionals in the region, and the Hattiesburg Police Department was the first Mississippi law enforcement agency to earn accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, which it continues to hold today.
That accreditation ensures accountability to hundreds of standards and best practices in all aspects of law enforcement agency’s operations.
In addition, the most recent class of 14 academy graduates completed training with the additional challenges of COVID-19 and is one of the largest classes to join the department in many years, continuing to grow the department’s manpower and ability to serve the citizens of Hattiesburg.
“I felt like they needed the encouragement right now,” Dryden said. “I wanted them to know that we appreciate them, that they are very important to this city, and we recognize what they do.
“We have so many people working for the city – all of our first responders and the people that just come to work and do what they need to do. It just keeps everything running, so they’re all valuable and I appreciate everything they do.”