Hub City activities honoring law enforcement go through Saturday

By STAFF REPORTS,

Although the week is drawing to a close, there are still a couple of opportunities to take part in this year’s Police Week in Hattiesburg, designed to pay tribute to fallen officers as well as honor the efforts of current officers working to keep communities safe.

On Thursday, Hattiesburg Police Department staff is inviting all residents of the Hub City to wear blue during “Paint the City Blue” in honor of the six HPD officers who have fallen in the line of duty: M.W. Vinson Jr. (1952), Jessie James Everett (1952), David Hue Anthony Sr. (1973), Jacquelyn Kay “Jackie” Sherrill (1984), Benjamin Joseph Deen (2015) and Liquori Terja Tate (2015). That will be followed by the Blue Line Challenge Obstacle Course Race, which will be held from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at the Hattiesburg Police and Fire Training Academy, 53 Academy Dr. in Hattiesburg.

The race includes four categories for participants: a 5K run/walk for $30, an obstacle course race for $40, a tactical obstacle course race for $40 and a fun run/walk for children for $15. The first 250 racers to complete the 5K and obstacle course race – regular and tactical – will receive a finisher medal.

In addition, prizes will be given to the overall Top 3 male and female finishers for the 5K run/walk, the obstacle course race and the tactical obstacle course race. Registration is open online at http://bit.ly/bluelinechallenge2019.

“This is sort of how we’re ending the week, with the Blue Line Challenge,” said Ryan Moore, public information officer for HPD. “Each leg of our race will be for a fallen officer in the department.

“It’s one way that the benevolent fund can raise money for the department, but it’s also how we go through and support the community throughout the year. Whether it be cooking for a church or giving back to children at Christmas time, all of this money that we collect and raise from this will go back to help officers in need also.”

National Police Week began in 1962, when President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which that day falls as National Police Week. This year’s Police Week in Hattiesburg – which is being held in partnership with the city of Hattiesburg – started Monday with a community candle lighting event at Parkway Heights United Methodist Church.

Coffee with a Cop was held Tuesday at The Depot, during which time residents had an opportunity to meet and talk with police officers regarding issues affecting the community and neighborhoods. On Wednesday, Pine Belt area law enforcement held a police memorial ceremony and proclamation.

“We’ve seen a good turnout and a lot of support from the community,” Moore said. “For one thing, this is for the memory of fallen officers that (current officers) deal with every day – they think about that and it stays on their mind.

“But also, this is one way that they can receive support from the community. They see it from time to time, but this is one week where it’s every day of the week, whether it be somebody bringing some cookies they made to the station or kids making posters or hand-drawn cards for the officers. It’s something that they can really appreciate, and it shows that they are appreciated themselves.”