Early Monday evening on Memorial Day, travelers on some major highways in Mississippi might see the flashing lights of a law enforcement patrol cruiser. However, the flashing lights are not being used because a traffic violator has been pulled over.
Instead, members of the state law enforcement community want to show unity and pay respect to those officers who have died in the line of duty.
Hernando native Lt. Col. Thomas Tuggle is the director of the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Training Academy. Tuggle is coordinating the “Light Up Mississippi Initiative,” as it is called, after being contacted by Tunica County Sheriff K.C. Hamp, asking for help to organize the event on a state level.
“This initiative is not a municipal, county, or state law enforcement project, but a Mississippi law enforcement project,” Tuggle said in an email about the initiative. “We felt that the most efficient way to display our bond is to have officers from the three regions of the state unified in lighting up the state with their blue lights.”
At 6 p.m. on Monday evening, officers parked along the roadway will start up their emergency lights in tribute to fallen officers and others. The allotted time is one hour and officers are to park vehicles safely and off the roadway without impeding traffic where they can also be seen by traffic cameras of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
That is being done so people may log onto MDOT Traffic’s mobile app, or on to a computer to MDOTtraffic.com, and watch the event take place.
Officers from several agencies across the state are expected to take part in the Light Up Mississippi Initiative.
The show of respect, Tuggle said, would also be for all fallen heroes, first responders, military personnel, and healthcare workers, in addition to law enforcement.
“We all know that we are neither the largest nor the most populated state in the union; but on this Memorial Day, we will be the brightest!” Tuggle noted. “If you are unable to participate in person, have officers from your area light up your city with their blue lights during this time. Capture the moment by taking photographs and posting them on social media.”
DeSoto County locations marked as being sites where officers will park Monday evening include on I-55 south of I-269, the I-269 intersection with Getwell Road, and on U.S Highway 78 east of the weigh station in Olive Branch. Those sites were selected because of their visibility to high-definition traffic cameras that have been posted by MDOT.