Wednesday, November 30, 2022

First Responder of the Month: Hardie Meeks Outstanding Rep for OPD

Policeman of the Month_Slider

Officer of the Year Hardie Meeks was involved in helping uncover a large identity theft scandal — but that is not the only thing that is outstanding about this investigator.

Meeks teaching at OPD's Citizen Police Academy in September. Photo by Amelia Camurati
Meeks teaching at OPD’s Citizen Police Academy in September.
Photo by Amelia Camurati

Meeks is from Carroll County at the borderline of the Mississippi Delta. He graduated from Ole Miss in 2004 but he didn’t start out in police work right off the bat.

“A lot of officers will tell you that it is something that they have always wanted to do. I wanted to do it (be an officer) as a kid and I went to school for criminal justice, but my mom was worried because of the danger,” Meeks said. “So when I graduated I started working another field.”

He was determined to achieve his goals and Meeks explained how he started his career.

“In 2008, I kept having the itch and the dream and I’m living the dream (now), so I went to the academy,” Meeks said. “I started at UPD (University Police Department) and worked there for two years. I wanted to be in investigation and they didn’t have the room for it, because they already had two investigators and they were pretty new.”

This did not discourage Meeks in the slightest. Knowing what he wanted to do he said, “I came over here (to the Oxford Police Department) and worked from the bottom and started training with investigation.”

Meeks is a detective and works on a variety of cases dealing with all types of crimes. “I zero in on juvenile crimes weather the juvenile was the victim or suspect. I also zero in on financial crimes.”

Meeks with his wife and Oxford Police Chief Joey East when he was honored as officer of the year. Photo courtesy Oxford Police Department
Meeks with his wife and Oxford Police Chief Joey East when he was honored as officer of the year.
Photo courtesy Oxford Police Department

Meeks’ said his favorite part about being a police officer is, “making victims feel whole again or as close to whole as possible. I love recovering stolen property to the owner.” And he explains that the most challenging aspect of the job is, “Mainly anything dealing with children. When they are victims that is the hardest. That will take a toll on you the most.”

His favorite case that he has worked on has been the identity theft. The case started out with a credit card fraud incident.

“We had a couple of elderly people come in with credit card frauds. The first one was a guy from Water Valley, and he said the card was used in Oxford,” Meeks said. “So we took leads, got video footage, and got receipts. We got all the information for the case. We started finding leads and we actually found some people who had their utilities paid by the card. So they told us who paid it for them and how they exchanged money for service.

“We got their business rights statements and that is how we got him (the theft). We kept digging into it and found out that there was actually more than that one victim, it tuned out to be a lot of victims.”

The case turned into a social security benefit theft scheme, which involved the whole county of Lafayette. Meeks said, (We) made contact with federal agents.” The perpetrator was a resident of Oxford, living in the community. Now he is behind bars thanks to officers such as Meeks.

Molly Brosier is a HottyToddy.com staff reporter and can be reached at mebrosie@go.olemiss.edu.

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