Vicksburg officer the latest to be honored by Secretary of State
Published 10:10 am Thursday, December 29, 2016
Sometimes seeing beyond the badge of a law enforcement officer can be difficult.
Mississippi Secretary of State and Vicksburg native Delbert Hosemann is working to highlight those officers who are doing an exceptional job across the state through a recognition program called Behind the Badge.
Behind the Badge honorees receive a letter and certificate from Hosemann plus a short biography and pictures of the officer are featured on the Secretary of State’s website. Over the past year, three Vicksburg Police Department officers have been recognized.
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Hosemann said he started the program about two years ago after hearing about multiple officer shootings across the country. He wanted to do something so the public would see the person behind the badge.
“They were just looking at the uniform and shooting at the uniform like there wasn’t anyone behind it,” Hosemann said.
He decided to bridge Mississippi communities with their officers by featuring an officer on his website every few weeks, and posting their biography with photos.
“Anytime I can, I get a picture of the officer outside the badge. I don’t want him in his uniform. I want him with his family. I want him as a person. I want to personalize our public police officers. I think that’s so important now,” Hosemann said.
He said his website received 12 million hits a year, and people from every state and many countries, visited the site, which gives the officers a large audience of recognition. Hosemann hopes by showing the public who these officers are, people will think twice before using violence.
In December, Sgt. Tommy J. Curtis Jr., head of the juvenile division of the criminal investigations unit of the Vicksburg Police Department, was given the Behind the Badge honor for his dedication and service to the Vicksburg community.
“It was an honor to be chosen,” Curtis said. “It’s awesome just to be recognized for someone to take the time to look at the hard work that we do in law enforcement. I thank God for it. It’s not everyday officers get recognized for what’s going on in the community. Just to be recognized at that level, in the state, is a great accomplishment for me.”
In May, Curtis completed the certified investigator program, was promoted to sergeant and was named Top Cop for the VPD. He is also a member of the Mississippi Association of Gang Investigators and is the coordinator of the Vicksburg Police Department Summer Youth Program.
Curtis is married to his wife, Rebecca, and they have three children, Dejonae, Anthony and Tommy III.
Vicksburg K-9 Officer Donnie Heggins was given the same recognition in October. The Vicksburg native comes from a family of law enforcement officers — his father is retired from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and his brother is the current chief deputy for the WCSO.
Heggins started at the Warren County Juvenile Detention Center later transferred to the WCSO and is currently employed by the VPD as the K9 officer and handler. He is also an active shooter instructor and a firearms instructor.
Heggins is married to his wife, Beth, and the couple has three sons, Brandon, Joshua and Cooper.
Earlier in 2016, officer Eric Paymon also received Behind the Badge recognition. He has been working at the VPD since 2007, and serves as a watch commander and the master firearms instructor.
The Vicksburg Homecoming Benevolent Club named Paymon Officer of the Year this February.
He is married to his wife, Kimberly, and they have two children, Eriel and Eric Jr.
Each of the officer’s full biographies and pictures can be found at sos.ms.gov/Pages/BehindBadge.aspx.