The legacy of slain Biloxi Police Officer Robert McKeithen is now etched into the stone of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
“No one wants to lose an officer,” said Police Chief John Miller, "but if you do, you want to know they’re not forgotten, that they’re remembered.“
Miller describes McKeithen – a 24-year veteran of the department – as a friend, dedicated officer, and an example for younger members of the force. “If he needed to take care of business, he could do it, but he was just a really friendly guy,” he said.
Miller said McKeithen’s good humor served him well with colleagues and the community.
“In the police business, you’re going to get complaints,” said Miller, “I had more people calling me and thanking me for Robert’s service.”
McKeithen’s name is one of 307 fallen law enforcement officers added to the walls of the memorial this year. But, much of the annual tribute is on hold due to the on-going pandemic.
“We have people who are willing to place themselves in harm’s way in protection of communities," said National Fraternal Order of Police President Patrick Yoes, "I think we all owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”
Yoes argues cancelling was the right decision. A video ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday night, and Yoes, said full honors will eventually take place at next year’s ceremonies.
“It’s something that offers a little bit of closure and a very important part of the healing process,” Yoes said of the need to make up for this year’s shortened agenda.
Chief Miller said he and his department will be there for their fallen colleague when that day comes.