Vicksburg, MS – Vicksburg Police Department (VPD) Lieutenant Beverly Prentiss died of natural causes at her home on Wednesday.
The 64-year-old lieutenant served her department for over 35 years, The Vicksburg Post reported.
Vicksburg Police Chief Milton Moore was sobbing when he spoke to the Vicksburg Daily News about Lt. Prentiss later that morning.
“[She] was a wonderful person who helped train so many of us,” Chief Moore said.
Lt. Prentiss was hired by VPD as a dispatcher in 1981, The Vicksburg Post reported.
She began working as a patrol officer the following year, and continued to climb the ranks during the decades that followed.
“I always enjoyed helping people,” Lt. Prentiss told The Vicksburg Post in 2016. “I wanted to do the job because I felt I could do well in it, and provide a service to the community, and it was exciting to me. There was never a routine day at the office.”
Lt. Prentiss worked in the department’s community relations division and as a patrol watch commander before she eventually approached then-Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong about establishing a domestic violence unit.
“I saw a need [for a domestic violence officer],” she explained in the 2016 interview. “I went to Chief Armstrong and asked him we if could start a domestic violence unit for this department, and he agreed.”
“I loved my job, because I could give the victim or the abuser the time they needed to tell me all they had to tell me, whereas being on patrol, you just get the basics and stopped,” Lt. Prentiss explained. “I’m a good listener, and my role everyday was to try to provide a safe haven for victims of violence and that was my daily activity.”
Domestic violence cases in Vicksburg decreased after the division was established.
“When I first started, domestic violence cases were averaging anywhere between 600 and 650 cases per year,” she said in 2016. “Right now, I believe there are maybe 400. It has helped having a person to go to, having confidence in that person and knowing that you have somebody that you can call.”
Lt. Prentiss retired from VPD in 2016, but returned in 2018 to work as a court bailiff and part-time officer, The Vicksburg Post reported.
“It will always be in my blood,” she told The Vicksburg Post.
The VPD described Lt. Prentiss as a “caring and committed law enforcement professional who had a deep, genuine concern for the community she served.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Vicksburg Police Department Lieutenant Beverly Prentiss, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.