The Hattiesburg City Council recently adopted a resolution to sponsor a trip for the families of fallen Hattiesburg police officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate to attend the engraving of the officers’ names on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial during National Police Week, May 15-21.
The purpose of this week is to honor the service and sacrifice of officers killed in the line of duty.
Lt. Jon Traxler of the Hattiesburg Police Department said this will give families of the fallen an opportunity to see how the country as a whole feels about the loss of their loved ones as well as provide them with information and assistance to cope with their loss.
“I do not feel there will ever be enough to be able to replace a family member, whether it is a spouse, father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter,” Traxler said. “It is definitely a great step in a way that helps them with the coping of the issues that have come from the incident.
“And even the co-workers of the fallen fall into that extended family of the fallen also.”
According to the resolution, the mayor and Hattiesburg City Council wish “to take this opportunity to advertise and promote the City of Hattiesburg and its municipal resources, particularly these heroes of the Hattiesburg Police Department” by helping fund certain family members so
they can experience this honoring ceremony.
According to the resolution, it is “one that promotes the city’s resources and advances its best interests.”
Traxler said other officers are inspired to continue to fulfill their duties because National Police Week shows the support of the cities and communities in this country and helps the officers continue to be strong enough to leave their families each night to protect the lives of strangers.
“Like other emergency responding jobs we never know what the next call will be but we know it is our job to be there for those who need us every day,” Traxler said.
The expenditure, however, cannot exceed $6,000 each to both families for reimbursement of traveling expenses.
The funds are to be reimbursed in conformity with Mississippi statute and city travel policies.
Deen and Tate were murdered on the scene of a burglary call on May 19, 2015, which was the first time in over 50 years that the Hattiesburg Police Department lost two officers.
This event provoked sadness throughout the community of Hattiesburg and the state.
The condolences the families received were many, and the officers’ deaths drew awareness to the sacrifice police make across the nation.
Following their deaths, members of the local community gathered to start numerous initiatives to help the families, seeking to provide financial and emotional support.
According to Traxler, ratification of the April 19 resolution reflects this aim.
Traxler said it means a great deal to the Police Department because “it shows the officers how much our Mayor and City Council stands behind them and their families” and it exemplifies the overall appreciation from the Hattiesburg community.