3 from Vicksburg honored as Mississippi Top Cops

Published 11:45 am Monday, May 21, 2012

Vicksburg and Warren County’s top officers have been honored for their knowledge and life-saving efforts.

District Attorney’s Investigator Janice Harrison, Vicksburg police Sgt. Troy Kimble and Warren County Sgt. Jason Bailess received Top Cop awards last week at the Mississippi Center for Police and Sheriff’s luncheon in Jackson.

Harrison is the first recipient of the award from the DA’s office, and Kimble is the second from VPD. Warren County Sheriff’s Department has had numerous Top Cop winners.

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Harrison is a 23-year veteran of law enforcement. She spent seven years at VPD before going to the DA’s office 16 years ago. She had no idea she was going to be honored at the luncheon May 15 and even overlooked her own name on the list of honorees during the award ceremony.

“They blind-sided me with this one,” she said.

As an investigator, Harrison mainly works with outside law enforcement to help prepare cases for prosecution.

“The good part about that is having a background in what a police officer does,” she said.

Harrison is the most experienced member of the district attorney’s office and provides a good insight into the law enforcement aspect of prosecution, said District Attorney Ricky Smith.

“She is the backbone of the district attorney’s office,” Smith said.

Kimble has been with VPD since 2005, and previously worked for BellSouth. He currently is the crime scene supervisor and is involved in special operations.

“It really is a privilege and an honor,” Kimble said of the award.

His background in computers and forensics has been a great asset to the department, Chief Walter Armstrong said.

“He has just done an excellent job,” Armstrong said. “He’s an asset to the department in such a way that he exemplifies training in that area.”

It was “a total fluke” during Kimble’s time at BellSouth that led to law enforcement, he said. While working on the surveillance system of a jail in the southern part of the state, the sheriff, a retired BellSouth employee, asked Kimble if he had ever considered working in law enforcement.

When Kimble told his friends at the police department that he was considering becoming an officer, they convinced him to go to police academy, he said.

Bailess is a 17-year veteran of law enforcement. He began his career in 1995 at VPD and has worked at the sheriff’s department and as a school resource officer. He is a shift commander, chief firearms instructor and training officer for the department.

“It’s a pretty nice honor considering the caliber of deputies I work with,” Bailess said.

Bailess received the award for saving the life of a choking man last year. Bailess and another deputy were eating lunch when they heard the man choking. Using law enforcement training, Bailess was able to clear the man’s throat.

“What Jason did to save this man’s life had nothing to do with enforcing the law but had everything to do with being a public servant,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said.

Bailess also served in the U.S. Marine Corps and is a decorated veteran of Desert Storm.

Mississippi Bureau of Investigation Investigator Charlie L. Hill Jr. of Vicksburg and Madison patrolman Jamie Brooks II also were honored with Top Cop awards. Brooks grew up in Vicksburg and is the son of former VPD Chief Jimmy Brooks, who was killed last year in a motorcycle accident on his way to work with the Madison Police Department.