Josh Jarvis grew up watching his father, retired Mississippi Highway Patrol Captain Bill Jarvis, don the blue and gray each day, and it made him proud. He always wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, and in December 2011, he took his first step — graduating from the MHP cadet class and joining the motorcycle unit in September 2012.
Now he has taken another step in those very big shoes, joining his father in the annals of MHP history as a district Trooper of the Year. He accepted the honor Thursday during the Exchange Club meeting at Lion Hills Golf Club.
He credited his parents, Bill and Carol Jarvis, and his wife, Beth Jarvis, for his accomplishments, calling the past 16 and a half months “a great journey” that he could not have undergone without their love and support.
Last year, he arrested 102 people for driving under the influence of alcohol, qualifying him to become a member of the state’s “100 Club.” He led the district with 2,383 citations, including 429 seatbelt violations, 60 child restraint violations and eight littering violations. He made 18 felony arrests.
He also seized 452.3 grams of marijuana, 0.5 grams of cocaine and $2,624.30 in currency.
Though his father, a 28-year veteran of MHP and the son of a three-term Kemper County sheriff, had promised he would not speak during the ceremony, he found it a promise that was impossible to keep.
“There are no words to describe how proud I am,” Bill Jarvis said, his voice trembling. “I love and respect him more than you’ll ever know. And I’m proud of what he does, proud he’s on the highway patrol. He’s the one that deserves more credit than anybody.”
It is a more violent, more dangerous world for law enforcement today, Josh Jarvis noted. During a routine traffic stop, he angered an intoxicated driver when he asked to see proof of insurance. The driver reached into his console and pulled out a gun. He had to draw his own weapon to stop the situation from escalating.
Other traffic stops have been less nerve-wracking but equally memorable.
After a large lunch at Ryan’s with his colleagues, he made yet another stop he thought would be routine.
“The first traffic stop I made (after lunch) was about a mile (foot) chase through the woods. I finally got him caught, but that was pretty miserable,” he said.
The district Trooper of the Year award is judged by a committee of peers and governed by the bylaws of the Mississippi State Troopers Association. Award recipients from across the state are then eligible for the state award, which will be announced May 20 in Jackson.
Carmen K. Sisson is the former news editor at The Dispatch.