JACKSON, Miss. – The Central Mississippi Crime Stoppers and Mississippi Center for Police and Sheriff selected Jackson State University (JSU) Department of Public Safety (DPS) Officer Sammy Stewart for the 2022 ‘Top Cop’ of the Year (Officer of the Year). Stewart was recognized for exemplifying selfless service to the JSU community and unceasing dedication towards improving community relations and engaging in youth intervention programs. Officer Stewart was nominated by Chief Herman L. Horton, JSU Director of Public Safety, who credits Stewart’s humility, sense of urgency, and dependability as characteristics needed in this next phase of development for JSU Public Safety.
“Officer Sammy Stewart embodies the characteristics of professionalism that every chief of police expects of his/her officers. He is a very approachable person and is always available when called upon to help support the shift manpower,” said Horton. “He has consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty as well as simply doing the basic duties of a police officer extremely well.”
Under President John F. Kennedy’s administration, Police Week was expanded into a national observation and May 15th of each week designated as a Peace Officers Memorial Day.
Officer Stewart has been employed with the Jackson State University (JSU) Department of Public Safety (DPS) since October 2019 and graduated from the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Training Academy (MLEOTA) in 2021.
Stewart credits the leadership of JSU Public Safety for providing mentoring opportunities throughout his professional development and for modeling a form of civic engagement for him to understand and then emulate.
“First of all, I want to give all thanks to God for achieving this award, and I give respect to the leadership at JSU that chose me for this award. Chief Ward, Chief Albright, Chief Samuel, and Captain Magee, these are the people that inspired me to be honest about my job and in the work I do,” said Stewart.
Prior to joining JSU, Stewart, a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, focused his passion towards youth intervention directly working with the Warren County Youth Detention Center. It was during this tenure that he became exposed to the realities and nuances of youth delinquency and was encouraged by one of his supportive colleagues to carry his passion for community outreach to JSU Department of Public Safety.
“I got into juvenile work in 2014 and still work there at night. I think being around kids is a big help. To me, all kids are not bad kids, you cannot save all of them, but you can for some,” he said. “After a few years of working there, I was encouraged to go try for law enforcement.”
Outside of his uniform, Stewart enjoys spending quality time with his loving wife and 13 children (ages 14-33). He also devotes himself towards his spiritual development, actively serving in his church, Great Grove Missionary Baptist Church.
Chief Horton emphasized the importance of producing quality officers such as a Stewart in order to shift the paradigm of policing throughout the community and to position the Department of Public Safety to meet the expectations of the Campus Operations Strategic Plan which supports Jackson State University Elevate, the university’s five-year strategic plan.
“Officer Stewart is vigilant in deterring crime and ensuring the faculty, staff, and the students of JSU are safe. He is always willing to help others and his character is above reproach on and off duty. The paradigm shift of today’s law enforcement climate is why policing on university campuses need more officers like Officer Sammy Stewart,” said Horton.