From Press, Staff Reports
Each year, one state trooper is honored for exemplary work that goes above and beyond the call of duty. The Trooper of the Year is nominated by his/her peers and rewarded for exceptional valor, bravery and commitment to public safety.
A committee is selected from each of the Mississippi Highway Patrol’s nine districts. The district committee comprises a dispatcher, three troopers who work in that district and a member of the district’s command staff. The committee reviews the nominees from their district and selects one.
Each of the nine district committees chooses one person from their group to represent the district in the statewide selection process. The statewide review committee interviews all nine nominees and selects one as the Trooper of the Year.
This year’s Trooper of the Year is Trooper 1st Class Derrick Beckom of Columbus. Beckom graduated with Cadet Class 56 in December of 2003. He is a field training officer and on the Special Operations Group.
As an Army National Guardsman, Beckom served two tours of duty in Iraq. He is a native of Eupora, according to a June 3 article in The Clarion-Ledger.
He is credited with saving the life of Gregory Gabriel last July 3 in Columbus. Gabriel was trapped in a burning truck and Beckom, who was off duty, came to Gabriel’s aid using a fire extinguisher until he and another individual were able to pull Gabriel from the burning truck. They pulled the victim away from the flames just moments before the truck exploded.
Beckom, 40, is married and has four children