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Prentiss: ‘I always enjoyed helping people’

The Vicksburg Police Department is mourning the loss of officer Beverly Prentiss, who died at her home Wednesday from natural causes.

During her career, she served in the patrol, juvenile, and criminal investigation divisions.

“Lt. Prentiss was known as a caring and committed law enforcement professional who had deep, genuine concern for the community she served,” a police department release announcing her death said.

A 35-year veteran with the police department, Prentiss was hired as a dispatcher in 1981 and retired in 2016 as a lieutenant in domestic violence investigations.

She returned to the police department in November 2018 as a part-time officer and court bailiff.

In a 2016 story in The Vicksburg Post on her retirement, Prentiss said she became a police officer because “I always enjoyed helping people. I wanted to do the job because I felt I could do well in it, and provide a service to the community, and it was exciting to me. There was never a routine day at the office.”

She was assigned as the domestic violence investigator by then-Police Chief Walter Armstrong.

“I saw a need (for a domestic violence officer),” she said. “I went to Chief Armstrong and asked him we if could start a domestic violence unit for this department, and he agreed.”

As the department’s domestic violence investigator, Prentiss handled most of the protective orders for victims and reviewed cases and made follow-up calls to the victim to see if there were any services they may need.

She also worked closely with Haven House family shelter, and with men who were victims of domestic violence and abuse.

“I loved my job because I could give the victim or the abuser the time they needed to tell me all they had to tell me, whereas being on patrol, you just got the basics and stopped,” she said.

“I’m a good listener, and my role every day was to try to provide a safe haven for victims of violence, and that was my daily activity.”

She said she missed the people she worked with, and “I’m sure I will miss helping those victims who needed help, although I’m always available to give advice. If I see them somewhere and they ask me, I’m not going to turn my head and say ‘I don’t work there anymore.’

“It will always be in my blood.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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