Firefighter, police officer of year named

Published 1:24 am Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce held its Police and Firefighters Appreciation Banquet where this year’s police officer and firefighter of the year were announced.

This year’s police officer of the year is Lt. C. Ray Carlisle and this year’s firefighter of the year is Anthony Lossett.

To kick off the event ,Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant spoke about the importance of emergency responders. He said he had served in emergency response in varying capacities prior to becoming Mississippi’s Lt. Governor.

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In that time, he saw many things that make him appreciate what emergency responders do everyday. While he said there is nothing more exciting than running into a burning building, especially when you’re young, he really wanted to be a deputy sheriff so he changed professions from fire fighter to law officer.

“I’m surprised they even paid me, I got a car that’ll go 140 miles per hour, I got a gun and I got a badge,” Bryant said.

Bryant also shared a story of his past that affects him today. While working in law enforcement he worked at a concert where a young woman died of a drug overdose that also involved alcohol. Bryant said one of the hardest things for him to do was go to that girl’s parents’ house at 2 in the morning to tell them that she would not be coming home.

“We can’t continue to allow that to happen in this country,” Bryant said.

Next year Bryant said he plans to unveil a state-wide comprehensive drug enforcement plan, aimed at saving the lives of many children.

After Bryant gave his speech, the chief of each department presented his choice for officer and firefighter of the year.

Fire Chief Keith Brown said Lossett has been with the Fire Department since 1999 and is certified in passenger train emergency response, weapons of mass destruction, medical first responder, fire service instructor and as a smoke diver, to name a few of his certifications.

Lossett is also a carpenter whose skills are called for within the city and he is always eager to assist others with a helpful attitude, Brown said.

Police Chief Jim Luke later presented his choice for officer of the year. Luke said Carlisle has been with the Picayune Police Department for 15 years and is steadfast, professional and dedicated to law enforcement. Even with a heavy work load and a hectic schedule Carlisle is always willing to help his fellow officers. Carlisle also was instrumental in the department’s achieving national and state accreditation, Luke said.

Prior to Luke announcing his choice for officer of the year, he presented department Administrative Assistant Kris Landrum the honor of Citizen Employee of the Year for her work and dedication, and Reserve Officer O.R. Raybon with a Special Award of Honor for his 37 years of service.