Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System
GCVHCS Recognizing VA Police Service
BILOXI, Miss. – The Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (GCVHCS) is recognizing National Peace Officers Memorial Day May 15 and National Police Week, held annually during the calendar week in which May 15 falls.
GCVHCS Police Services consist of nearly 50 Veterans Affairs (VA) police officers and a Program Support Assistant, according to GCVHCS and Biloxi VA Medical Center Chief of Police F. Keith Bradley, who added that the critical role these men and women play in safeguarding Veterans and staff at our VA facilities is part of their mission.
“The VA is a community and the safety of our Veterans is one of the most important things we can do,” Bradley said. “We’re committed to this, and to the well-being of our staff and visitors, and this commitment is evidenced by our collective resolve in protecting those who have served our nation.”
The GCVHCS recognition of National Police Week and Peace Officers Memorial Day comes on the heels of an incident at the Joint Ambulatory Care Center (JACC) in Pensacola, Florida, during which VA police officers responded to an incident during which a Veteran retrieved a rifle from his vehicle. A VA employee immediately notified JACC VA Police Services, and two VA police officers swiftly intercepted the Veteran, issuing numerous verbal commands and ultimately disarming and apprehending the individual.
“The alertness, quick thinking and professionalism displayed by GCVHCS employee Delores Miller and VA Police Officers Kevin Moy and Ronald Bassett saved countless lives that day,” Bradley said. “Miller’s attention to detail and Moy’s and Bassett’s knowledge of procedures and protocol calmly and quickly averted what could have been a disastrous situation.”
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.
According to Bradley, the VA Police Service is designed to not only enforce organization regulations, but additionally serve as first responders during emergent situations, including mishaps at GCVHCS facilities, including falls from Veterans, automobile issues and answering questions from Veterans and visitors.
“More than 95 percent of the GCVHCS police officers are Veterans themselves, so they have a vested interest in providing compassionate care to our nation’s Veterans,” Bradley said.
He also stressed the importance the camaraderie the GCVHCS Police Service has, and said the organization maintains a crucial role in ensuring Veterans visiting each facility are treated fairly.
“Each of the men and women who are part of the GCVHCS Police Service are part of a team which will do everything in their power to ensure that a Veteran’s visit to one of our facilities is safe,” Bradley said. “The Veterans we serve deserve our respect and the men and women of the GCVHCS Police Services are dedicated to their protection and safety so they can concentrate on getting the care they’ve earned.”
The Biloxi Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, along with the Mobile, Pensacola, Eglin and Panama City VA Clinics are all part of the GCVHCS, which is headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi, and provides a variety of medical outpatient services to more than 70,000 Veterans.