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Lafayette County Law Enforcement Officer’s Association Hosted 21st Annual Banquet

The Lafayette County Law Enforcement Officer’s Association hosted their 21st annual law enforcement banquet, Thursday, Feb. 23 at the Oxford Conference Center. 
Officers from the Oxford Police Department, Lafayette County Sherrif’s Department and the University Police Department and their families came together for a night of community celebration. 
“It doesn’t matter how many tickets you write or how many awards you win; what matters is making it home each and every night,” said keynote speaker Bubba Holifield.
Holifield is a nine-year veteran with the Mississippi State Troopers. He has served on the SWAT team for the past six years. He won the Medal of Valor in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016 for his service. In 2016, he was shot in the foot while on a call and has not been back to service yet. He spoke of his journey in the trooper ranks and into the SWAT team. He also spoke on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He urged officers to seek people to talk to about the traumatic situations that they have seen and been a part of while out on the job.
This year the LCLEOA presented a special award to the Mayor of Oxford, Pat Patterson. Patterson has decided not to run for reelection, and the award represented the years of support the mayor has given the Lafayette County police departments.
Two officers were also given the Medal of Valor Award this year. Chequille Williams and John Dukes received the awards for their heroic efforts while attending a head-on collision on Highway 7. As the officers approached the wreck, they noticed two men were attempting to pull a third man out of a car that had caught fire. One of the officers proceeded to pull the car door off its hinges while the other pulled out the man. No longer than seconds after the man was pulled to safety, the entire car was engulfed in flames.
The other awards handed out at the banquet included Youth Character Awards for both Lafayette and Oxford High Schools and the Support Personnel Award. The YCA for Lafayette High School was won by Tree Wynn. For Oxford High School, the recipient was Colin Lewis who has overcome Optic Nerve Hypoplasia and maintained a great spirit. Becky Barnett was awarded Support Personnel. She has been a supervisor with the Oxford Sheriff’s Office since 1999.
The biggest award of the night, Officer of the Year, went to Alan Wilburn. Wilburn has climbed through the ranks starting off as a jailor to, now, commander of the SWAT team and investigator. He is known for helping many victims of violent crimes however he is able.
During the banquet, there was a table in the back of the room, set with a black table cloth. On the table were turned over plates and cups, along with an empty holster. This gesture was set up to represent the fallen officers of the past year.
Taylor Grocery provided the meal for the banquet, and the flower arrangements were donated by Mimosa Flowers. Door prizes, including Ole Miss Baseball season tickets, gift cards and a bright pink cooler, were donated by several Oxford businesses. 
The 21st LCLEOA ended with many officers and their families coming together, sharing many laughs, and being thankful for what they have.

By Nick Bushart, an intern for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at nabushar@go.olemiss.edu.
For questions or comments, email hottytoddynews@gmail.com.

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