Coast Man Named Mississippi Trooper Of The Year - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Coast Man Named Mississippi Trooper Of The Year

M/Sgt Joel Wallace (left) is pictured with MBI Director Lt. Col. David Shaw. (photo courtesy Mississippi Dept. Of Public Safety) M/Sgt Joel Wallace (left) is pictured with MBI Director Lt. Col. David Shaw. (photo courtesy Mississippi Dept. Of Public Safety)

JACKSON (WLOX) -- Master Sergeant Joel Wallace, based out of Gulfport's Troop K, has been named the 2007 Mississippi Trooper of the Year.

Wallace is a special investigator with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. He was nominated for his investigative work in the civil rights violation cases involving employees of the Harrison County Jail.

After 20 years of working with the Army's Special Forces, M/Sgt. Wallace decided to follow in his father's footsteps in law enforcement. When Katrina hit, Wallace was assigned to the emergency operations center in Hancock County.

"He was blown out of the EOC and held on to a pole for his life," said MHP Chief Colonel Michael Berthay. "It took a day for us to find him, but he went right back to work until we made him go home."

Berthay described Wallace as "one of those guys you hear about, but never see."

"Joel is tenacious in how he does things," Berthay said.

In accepting the honor, Wallace thanked God and his family. "I am overwhelmed," said Wallace. "Everyone who was nominated deserves to be recognized. I am proud to be able to do this work."

The Mississippi Trooper of the Year is nominated by his/her peers. Nominations are submitted from each of the MHP's nine districts. A committee of five people considers the candidates and submits one individual for consideration as Trooper of the Year. A review committee of 10 individuals, representing each district and the headquarters, considers the nominations and select one person for the honor.

This year's nominees include:

Troop C (Jackson) - Trooper Xavier Carr
Troop D (Greenwood) - Trooper First Class Keith Conner
Troop E (Batesville) - Trooper First Class Robert Hamblin
Troop F (New Albany) - Trooper First Class Phillip Mitchell
Troop G (Starkville) - Corporal Jason Terrell
Troop H (Meridian) - Corporal Eddie Hunt
Troop J (Hattiesburg) - Trooper Joshua Etheridge
Troop K (Gulfport) - Master Sergeant Joel Wallace
Troop M (Brookhaven) - Trooper Luke Harrington

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