As a young trooper, Derrick Beckom said his main goal was to “write speeding citations and lock up drunks.”
Now, with nearly nine years with the Mississippi Highway Patrol under his belt, the veteran trooper and MHP’s 2012 Trooper of the Year, sees things differently.
According to Beckom, he wants to be seen as a “friendly trooper.”
Known for his constant smile and infectious laugh, Beckom says he wants “to be more of an asset to the community” and to let people know “troopers are good guys.”
That mentality and community spirit is what motivated his fellow troopers to elect him Trooper of the Year. Surrounded by law enforcement personnel from throughout the state, the Trooper of the Year ceremony took place in Jackson last week.
Beckom said winning the award is a “very large honor” and he is proud to serve “the great state of Mississippi.”
Married with four children, Beckonm has been assigned to Troop G in Starkville since he graduated from the academy. Reflecting back on his younger days Beckom said “Back then, I thought I was taking care of myself out there on the road. Now, I realize it was God.”
He carries his faith with him when he puts on the uniform every day, and said he, his wife and his children pray together before he heads out on the road. He said they also pray when he gets home at night, thanking God for keeping him safe.
Beckom feels that God was with him on the evening of July 3, 2011, when he pulled a man from a fiery crash.
Gregory Gabrielle was driving South on Matson Road in Columbus when he ran off the road and hit a tree, causing the car to spin as the engine burst into flames. The accident happened right in front of the trooper’s home and he and the passerbyer Mickey Brislin worked tirelessly to pull a trapped Gabrielle from the inferno, saving the man’s life. Beckom, who had been on his way out to celebrate a wedding anniversary with his wife, says that he was in the right place at the right time. “If it had been five minutes either way, it could have been a true tragedy.”
That act of heroism is, in part, why Beckom is the 2012 Mississippi Trooper of the Year but Beckom modestly brushes off the act and gives all the credit to God. “I thank God for allowing me to be there, for allowing it. I just want to be the best man of God that I can be.”
Beckom says that while he greatly appreciates his fellow troopers for honoring him with the award, he would not be where he is today if not for the support of his wife and children. “We tell each other we love each other every day. They enjoy what I do, and they’re always there for me.”0