To serve and protect: Celebrating 30 years in law enforcement

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, October 14, 2015

making a difference: Maj. Julie Flowers joined law enforcement with  a desire to make a difference.

making a difference: Maj. Julie Flowers joined law enforcement with a desire to make a difference.

On Sept. 30, after 30 years in law enforcement in Pearl River County, Maj. Julie Flowers retired.
Flowers said she first moved to the area from New Orleans as a teenager, after her friends started using drugs. She said she wanted a better life for herself.
Flowers is a graduate of Picayune Memorial High School and the Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Academy. In 1985, she started her career in law enforcement as a correction officer with the Picayune Police Department.
“I always wanted to make a difference, and law enforcement came so natural to me,” she said. “It’s all I’ve ever done.”
She was soon promoted to patrol and received the Rookie of the Year award. Soon after, Flowers worked her way up to shift supervisor and then corporal.
“I enjoyed working with the Picayune Police Department for four years,” Flowers said. “It helped groom me. It was pretty strict and I had some great leaders. I learned a lot.”
During her employment with the Picayune police, she also worked as an undercover agent for the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. She did this for 14 years.
In the early 1990s, she was assigned to the Pearl River Basin Narcotics Task Force, which included five counties.
In 1992, she was hired as a patrol officer with the Poplarville Police Department. Flowers was the first female officer with the department and soon worked her way up to assistant police chief.
“I felt like I had something to prove,” Flowers said. “I don’t think they ever had enough confidence to hire a woman. It’s a great accomplishment and I think back to where I started. I’ve always been a hard worker and, being in a male setting, I felt I had to go over and beyond.”
Flowers said she loved working in Poplarville. There was a lot of community and hands-on policing, she said. She enjoyed speaking with and getting to know business owners and residents.
In 2000, former Pearl River County Sheriff Joe Stuartt asked her to work at the sheriff’s department as a chief investigator, which meant ensuring all criminal files were prepared for the grand jury.
She was promoted to assistant chief deputy and was in charge of records. She was next promoted to chief deputy and was told she was the only female chief deputy in the state.
In 2008, when Sheriff David Allison was elected, Flowers became the jail administrator and assumed responsibility for the everyday occurrences at the facility, including prisoner transport and inmate care.
“It’s been the most challenging position but also the most rewarding,” Flowers said. “It required a lot of hands-on work because I had the opportunity to speak with the inmates, see to their needs and learn about how they got into their situations.”
Flowers was also instrumental in creating programs for inmate GED acquisition, drug rehabilitation and T-180, a program designed to provide them the tools needed to function in society.
Flowers said her greatest accomplishment occurred when the jail received its national accreditation from the American Correction Association.
Allison said Flowers was a great employee and he appreciates what she’s done for this department.
“She works well with others, has a great attitude and is a great leader,” Allison said. “She works hard. She’s had a great career here in Pearl River County, always kept her name clean and did a good job, no matter where she worked. We are going to miss her.”
She said she has been fortunate to work with a number of great professionals who helped her mature into the officer she is today. They include Brenda Smith, Joe Stuart, Allison, Charlie Fazende and Shane Tucker.
“I’ve been so blessed to work in law enforcement for 30 years,” she said. “But, I still love what I do. I want a little me time. There have been a lot of challenges, but the good outweighed the bad. At the end of my career, I realized I gave it my all and it’s been those bad times that perfected me in dealing with different situations and circumstances. I’m going to miss it, but I’m not saying it’s over yet.”

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