Biloxi Police Dept. working through ‘new normal’ after officer death

Biloxi Police Dept. working through ‘new normal’ after officer death
Biloxi Police Chief John Miller (left) and Officer Robert Wheeler at the department's Quarterly Award Ceremony.

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) -With the death of Officer Robert McKeithen still fresh on the minds of everyone, including those who wear the Biloxi Police Department badge, we checked in to get a feel for the mood of the department three months after the McKeithen shooting.

Biloxi Police Chaplin Robert Burriss and Police Chief John Miller have been out front in the healing process for the department. They said things are getting better, but the hurt is still there.

"I don’t know that we’ll ever be back to normal,” Miller said. “Much like other events we’ve experienced here, I think we’ll have a new normal. I think we’ll learn from it. I think it’s a horrible way to learn, but we do. We learn. We can’t ignore that.”

On Friday, several BPD officers were honored at an awards ceremony for excelling at their jobs. Officers like Michael Wheeler, who is the off-duty officer that spotted McKeithen shooting suspect Darian Atkinson in Wiggins and helped lead to his arrest back on May 6.

"He’s emotionally drained, it’s dark, and he still figures this out on the roadway at maybe 40-50 mph, and he says, 'You know what? That looks like the guy.’ There’s no way to explain that kind of dedication,” Miller added.

Despite that dedication, Burris said it still takes time to heal.

"We had to go and talk to dispatchers, we talked to patrol officers, and we’ve dealt with family members. And it’s a struggle sometimes when you’re doing that,” Burriss said.

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