Service For Fallen Officers

Hernando, Ms

Friday morning a group of about 100 people gathered to show their respects and gratitude to those that who paid the ultimate price for our community.

The 15th Annual DeSoto County Public Safety Officers Memorial Ceremony was held on the Courthouse grounds in Hernando.

Deputy Jerald Wheeler with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department, who organizes the annual service, said, “The releasing of white doves, signifies the departed souls of the fallen, the ringing of the bell is a sign of “last call”.

There was an honor guard with a 21 gun salute, the playing of ‘Taps’ and a fly-over helicopter salute by the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department Air Unit.

This years keynote speaker was Mississippi Highway Patrol Lt. Col. Thomas Tuggle.

Tuggle, a Hernando native and 1987 Hernando High School graduate, thanked everyone for coming out to show their love for these Angels that gave their lives protecting all of us.

“I knew Trooper Bubba Wells personally, he died doing what he loved. He inspired me to become a Mississippi State Trooper,” said Tuggle.

Trooper Bobby L. Wells, Jr. died June 27, 1995 when he was struck by a car on I-55 south of the Hernando exit.

Tuggle went on to say that times are harder than ever for those who chose to become law enforcement officers. “They need our support now more than ever”.

Coming to show her support DeSoto County 4 District Supervisor Lee Caldwell said, “ I very happy to see the big turnout honoring these men that paid the ultimate sacrifice, so we have a safe place to live”.

Sheriff Rasco reading names of Fallen Officers

Sheriff Bill Rasco read the roll call of men and flowers were given to family members.

This year a new name was added to the memorial, K-9 Deputy Sheriff Paul LeBlanc died of a heart attack after working an overnight SWAT team operation. Deputy LeBlanc participated in a multi-felon round-up with local and county law enforcement, U.S. Marshals, and the local FBI field office. Deputy LeBlanc responded to an arrest that included the use of his K-9 who was needed to control the suspect. Deputy LeBlanc completed paperwork and returned home the following morning. He was found unresponsive the next day. He died December 7, 2007.

Dove release as Fallen Officers name was read…

The nine that were recognize today are:

• DeSoto County Sheriff William P. Harris, died Nov. 25, 1912.

• Constable Robert Dodson, died Dec. 16, 1936.

• Deputy Sheriff Larry Cox, died Nov. 26, 1970.

• Hernando Police Rory W. Key, died June 28, 1974.

• Deputy Sheriff Larkin V. Pettit, died March 8, 1981.

• Southaven Police Lt. James W. Lance, died Oct. 7, 1988.

• MHP Trooper Bobby L. Wells Jr, died June 27, 1995.

• Deputy Lt. Greg Medlin, died Nov. 2, 2003.

• Paul LeBlanc, K-9 Deputy Sheriff died December 7, 2007

Editors Note: Please keep all of the officer’s families in your prayers for the sacrifice they made…