When Jarrett Eller arrived at Lion Hills Center on Thursday, folks were happy to see him.
Eller, 28, grew up on his parents’ cattle ranch in Noxubee County and graduated from Heritage Academy in Columbus. More than a few Exchange Club members know Jarrett and his family through that connection.
“As soon as I walked through the door, I saw faces I knew,” he said. “So that’s nice.”
Smiling faces and warm receptions aren’t typically a part of Eller’s workday, but his work was what led him to the Exchange Club meeting.
The Exchange Club honored Eller as its Trooper of the Year during the luncheon.
“Since his appointment to Troop G, his work has been superb,” said Capt. Larry Conn, who presented the award. “Just the numbers alone tell you that. He led the entire department in DUI arrests, was in the top five in felony arrests and in the top 10 for total violations (ticketed). He takes great pride in everything he does.”
Eller, who carries a rank of Trooper First Class, has been the Mississippi Highway Patrol since graduation from trooper school in 2015. First assigned to Chickasaw County, Eller is now stationed in Monroe County.
“Being so close to where I grew up, I was already pretty familiar with the roads,” Eller said. “Really, it’s worked out pretty smooth. When you are starting out, you always wonder if you’re ready for the job. But we’re a close-knit bunch, kind of like a family, so there was a lot of support. And I think the training we get in the academy helped me even more than I thought it would. It’s gone pretty well.”
Eller said he understands troopers aren’t always a welcomed sight, particularly for those he may encounter on traffic stops.
“That’s why, I think, things like today are special,” he said. ” We don’t always get a lot of positive feedback, so this is really nice. I think all of us appreciate it.”
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]