By Robbie Ward/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Tupelo police officer Tim Bell appreciates his employer’s willingness to help him catch up from training when returning from active military duty.
On Monday, the Department of Defense-funded committee Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve also showed appreciation to Tupelo Police Chief Tony Carleton and the Tupelo Police Department.
Representatives of ESGR, a federal committee that promotes understanding between military reservists and their employers, honored Chief Carleton and the TPD with the Patriot award, an honor given to employers who make transition to and from active duty easier.
“The city of Tupelo has been nothing but spectacular in supporting us,” said 1st Sgt. Bell, currently on active duty at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg.
Bell recalled returning to the police force after active duty assignments in Iraq in 2009-2010, how supervisors helped him complete training to stay current with police work.
After accepting the award, Chief Carleton said the demeanor of police officers in the department who also serve in the reserves brings an added level of professionalism.
“It’s an honor to have them in the department,” Carleton said.
Robert Chesnut of ESGR’s District 1 in Mississippi presented the award, noting the importance of reservists having supportive employers. He said nearly half of the nation’s military service members are reservists.
“If employers don’t support reservists’ active duty, they eventually get out,” Chesnut said.