COPY-Loper steps down from EMA

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - After years of serving the residents of Jackson County, Department of Civil Defense Director Butch Loper is stepping down.

Loper has worked with the county's Emergency Management Agency for more than four years. Hurricane Ivan was the storm that welcomed Butch Loper into his new role as Jackson County's civil defense director.

"It was a good warm up to Katrina," Loper said.

Fast forward, four and half years and Butch Loper is stepping down from his around-the-clock position.

"One of the biggest problems I'm faced with as the director of EMA is that all the recovery process is coming through my office there and it needs to be removed from that office so we can focus on preparedness. In order for that to happen, I basically need to make the move somewhere else and take the recovery projects with me," Loper said.

Loper will return to his role as the assistant road manager for Jackson County. He says it will allow him to not only to spend more time with family, but do what he loves doing most, volunteering.

"The hardest thing for me when I took this job was to sit in the office when people were calling in and needed help. It was very hard for me to sit there and take that message and hand it someone else, instead of take that message and run out the door," Loper said.

Loper has more than 30 years experience in road and bridge construction. And even though he is giving up his current role with the EMA, he says he will always work hard to ensure the safety of South Mississippians.

Butch Loper will step down from his position effective December 1st. There is no word on who will become Jackson County's new civil defense director. Loper recommends his deputy director Donald Langham. However, the final decision will be made by Jackson County's Board of Supervisors.