Remembering Bonnie Cousin
Published 7:00 am Friday, July 8, 2016
Monday, the Picayune Police Department unexpectedly lost a member of their family with the passing of longtime employee, Capt. Bonnie Cousin.
“It’s a sad day for the police department family,” Picayune Police Chief Bryan Dawsey said. “We’ve lost someone very dear to us. She was a member of the police department family, an awesome person and a great employee with a great work ethic.”
Cousin began her career as a dispatcher in 2005 with the police department. Over the years, she achieved the rank of Sgt., Lt. and was promoted to Cpt. in 2011, a distinction not many civilian employees earn, Picayune Police Department Assistant Chief Jeremy Magri said.
At the time of her death, Cousin was the supervisor of the records division, but filled in as dispatch on a regular basis, Magri said.
When she began her career, Magri said, Cousin worked as his shift dispatcher and always felt if he needed help she would “get the job done.”
A dispatcher is the lifeline, not only for officers, but for citizens as well, Magri said. Cousin took that distinction very seriously, he added.
“She trained many dispatchers during her time here,” Magri said. “She was firm, but fair. As an instructor, she ensured that they understood the importance of being a dispatcher.”
Magri also spoke of the positive working relationship he had with Cousin. Often, when he was at the station, he would laugh and talk about his day with Cousin.
“Whatever was asked of her to do, she was always willing to fill in,” Magri said. “It’s a shock and she will be missed very much.”
Sgt. LaTonya Spikes worked with Cousin for 10 years in dispatch, and the two even shared a birthday.
Spikes described Cousin as outspoken, much like herself.
“We often bumped heads, but we had an awesome time,” Spikes said. “She taught me a lot about growing up and how to pick my battles. She taught me to humble myself. I learned how to talk to people instead of just listening and the importance of being the eyes and ears for officers.”
Spikes said she will miss everything about Cousin including her laugh and the fact that she would give people “the shirt off her back.”
“I could call her anytime of the night and just talk to her,” Spikes said. “It’s hard right now. To know Bonnie was to love her.”
Cpt. Constance Myers also began her career with the police department in 2005. Myers said Cousin was a “true person.”
“She definitely loved her job and working with the officers,” Myers said. “She didn’t care what was going on around us, her main goal was to make sure the officers got home safe at night.”
Myers shared one of her favorite memories of Cousin, which occurred after she completed the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Training Academy.
Myers said she was nervous because she was the first officer from Picayune to be sent to that particular academy in 25 years. When she completed her training, Myers said it is customary of officers to call dispatch once they return to the city.
“I’ll never forget it,” she said. “I came back and said my number and 10-80 back in the city, MLEOTA certified. She was the first one to come on the radio and congratulate me. She was always upbeat and kept morale up. But she could be serious when she needed to be. She wanted the best for the department.”
Cousin also trained dispatcher Candice Williams.
“She’s a tough one, but she makes you better,” Williams said of Cousin. “She’s the best dispatcher I’ve ever known.”
Williams said about two weeks ago, she and Cousin had a conversation that is helping her cope with her friend’s sudden passing.
“She always said, ‘if I go before you, I want you to remember everything I said, remember the funny stuff and laugh,’’’ Williams said. “She was a character. I love her and she will be greatly missed. She made me better. She was tough and strong, but you knew she loved you. It’s going to be quiet around the police department without her.”