More Military Call Ups Reduce Biloxi Police Force - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/27/04

More Military Call Ups Reduce Biloxi Police Force

Biloxi police officer Bryan Vincent once flew Al Qaida prisoners to Cuba. This summer, the Air Force reservist may get that chance again.

"There's nothing you can do about it," Vincent said as he talked about his military call up. "When the time comes, you go. That's what we volunteered for. And that's just the way we set our lives to be."

Vincent just received orders to rejoin his 403rd security force unit.

"If we can stop these groups before they do something on a local side, then it makes it better off for everybody," the patrol officer said.

The latest round of police department call ups means Biloxi will have 11 officers supporting America's fight against terrorism.

Warrants officer James Banta leaves his phone and his computer behind sometime after June 8. The Army reservist's deployment could put him in the middle of the Iraqi conflict. There's a "possibility of it, sure. But no sense worrying about it until it happens," he said.

The worrying will be done by Biloxi police chief Bruce Dunagan.

"Yes it does, it scares me," the chief said. "I think it should scare every American."

With almost 10 percent of his patrol force serving in the military, Dunagan must juggle assignments to make sure enough officers are on the streets, protecting the city.

Officer Vincent must do some juggling as well, to make sure he and his family are safe during his deployment.

"It's kind of difficult because I still have small kids," Vincent said. "That's the worst part is leaving the family behind."

Biloxi isn't the only South Mississippi city with officers serving in the military right now. Gulfport, Bay St. Louis, and Hancock County all sent officers back to the military so they could support America's fight against terrorism.

by Brad Kessie

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