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Lafayette County Law Enforcement Officer’s Association Hosted 20th Annual Banquet

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The Lafayette County Law Enforcement Officer’s Association hosted their 20th annual banquet and meeting on Thursday, Feb. 25, at the Oxford Conference Center.

Among attendees were the Oxford Police Department and the University of Mississippi Police Department and their families. The conference center was decorated with flowers donated by Mimosa’s Flowers, Gifts and Gourmet and door prizes were donated by several Oxford businesses. Among festivities, the Magnolia Bowl, Egg Bowl and Sugar Bowl trophies were on display for all to see.

During the banquet, the LCLEOA remembered fallen officers and retirees, presented youth character awards to young locals and named Officer Ray Sockwell as “Officer of the Year”, among other things.

Charlie Spillers, a former federal prosecutor in Oxford, was the guest speaker for the night. Spillers had a career in law enforcement for over 42 years as a uniform officer, police intelligence officer, narcotics agent and a regional commander. His book, “Confessions of an Undercover Agent: Adventures, Close Calls and the Toll of a Double Life” was recently published by the University Press of Mississippi. Throughout his speech, he encouraged integrity and respect to be a virtue of all officers.

“I was never tempted because I was a cop,” Spillers said. “You can call us names, discourage us, but when you need help, we’re going to be there.”

Spillers also recognized a recent fallen narcotics officer, Agent Lee Tart, in his speech. According to Spillers, Agent tart was a “fantastic person” and there was not a dry eye at his funeral last week.

“A lot of people were lined up standing and saluting,” Spillers said about Agent Tart’s funeral. “When those people stood in the rain, they did it out of respect for Lee Tart and out of respect for you, the law enforcement- and those that don’t respect us, we serve them anyway.”

Later in the night, Officer Mario Weekley, OPD, and Kim Maples, LHS, presented youth character awards to two young locals in Oxford. The prestigious award went to one OHS and one LHS student this year and recognizes their academic work as well as their character.

Lydia Holland, a student at Oxford High School, has a 3.5 GPA and is an active volunteer at her church nursery, the Oxford Activity Center and various school clubs such as Beta Club and the Change Your Act Club, for which she started. The LHS winner was Malia Carothers, who has a 3.15 GPA, and has overcome many things in her life. As a senior, she works 20 to 30 hours at a local restaurant each week and will complete her first goal of becoming a high school graduate this year.

Other awards at the LCLEOA included “Officer of the Year” and “Support Personnel of the Year.”

Ray Sockwell, “Officer of the Year”, served in the marines in combat and in every local law enforcement agency including the University of Mississippi Police Department, The Oxford Police Department, Lafayette County Metro Narcotics Unit, The Tupelo Police Department and the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department as a patrol deputy and investigator.

Joe Maples, “Support Personnel of the Year”, has served as a reserve deputy with the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department. As a reserve deputy, Maples does not receive any wages for riding with the Sheriff’s Department, but shows his loyalty by staying late and volunteering around the police department.

Needless to say, the 20th annual banquet and business meeting for LCLEOA was a success.


Emily Newton is a staff reporter for hottytoddy.com and the editor of Experience Oxford magazine. She can be reached at emily.newton@hottytoddy.com.

 

 

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