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Writer proud of Chief Luke

Editor;

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.”

This is the motto and attitude of Chief Jim Luke. He has proven this over and over again during his life, and especially during his tenure as our Chief of Police.

When I see all of his accomplishments listed, I am very proud and honored to have been involved in some small way with his vision, the “P. R. O . U. D.” program, “Picayune’s Retired, Organized, United, and Dedicated,” for which the Department was recognized in 2005 for winning the “Mississippi Spirit” award. This program has given me, a retired widow, a means by which to “give back”. I have enjoyed working with him and for him.

I have been privileged to watch Chief Luke surround himself with good Christian officers and staff, always searching for the best to be found. Chief Luke, along with his excellent group of officers and staff, led The Picayune Police Department in achieving the most prestigious award to be had, the national accreditation, received in November.

Chief Luke has aggressively sought ways to rid our city of as much crime as possible. He has for years, fought to save our children and grandchildren of our city from the ravages of drugs and the crimes connected to drugs. One June 29, 2005, he drew a “Blue Line” across the streets entering the City of Picayune, to serve as a warning to the drug dealers that they would be prosecuted when caught.

Chief Luke’s department has been recognized by the Mississippi Municipal League and the Clarion Ledger as the top Public Safety Agency in the State for the “Partnership, Pride, and Progress”. This too was one of Chief Luke’s visions.

The Chief and the police department have received international recognition for their 3 phase drug offensive program. Phase I is the education of the community about drugs, phase II is the apprehension, and phase III is the rehabilitation for the addict and getting them the help they need. This program was initiated with the support of the mayor, city council, and the city manager.

The Picayune Police Department sponsors a two week youth camp every summer for youth ages 7-12. The camp is to teach these children such things as electrical safety, drug awareness, and the hazards of smoking. They get to enjoy outdoor activities such as horseback riding, skating, bowling, sports, and a trip to the Global Wildlife in Folsom. They are also shown movies. This program is helped by local businesses and various organizations sponsoring children for this wonderful camp.

Chief Luke has been first runner-up for the prestigious International Association of Chiefs of Police/Choice Point Award for excellence in criminal investigations. He has received the International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association Special Award of Honor for outstanding service and dedication to his duties in the area of drug enforcement.

Chief Luke is a member of the Mississippi Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission for the 2005 and 2006 terms. This commission recognizes professional excellence in the law enforcement community. He was also selected as a finalist in The South Mississippi Outstanding Community Leaders for the class of 2005 and 2006.

The programs that have been initiated during Chief Luke’s tenure have saved our community many thousands of dollars. May he continue to have visions and challenges.

Maude Ritchey