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Sockwell named top cop at banquet

Ray Sockwell Jr. has served his country and his community for most of his life.

A U.S. Marine, he has also served locally in just about every law enforcement agency in the LOU community, including the University of Mississippi Police Departments, the Oxford Police Department and the Lafayette County Metro Narcotics Unit. He also worked for the Tupelo Police Department for about two years.

He is currently an investigator at the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department; however, he is retiring at the end of this month.

And somewhere in between his busy law enforcement career, he was a member of the Lafayette County Board of Supervisor for four years from 2007 to 2011.

His dedication to service and keeping Lafayette County safe, earned him the nomination for Officer of the Year at the annual Lafayette County Law Enforcement Officers Association Banquet held Thursday at the Oxford Conference Center.

Chief Deputy Scott Mills nominated Sockwell.

“His work ethic is second to none,” Mills wrote in his nomination letter. “There is not a lazy bone in this man’s body. He works tirelessly to get stolen items back to victims of theft. He has a great empathy for those who have worked to have things in their life and a thief has taken these things away. He will follow the smallest of leads and often times turn this into something that breaks the case.”

Sockwell said he spent almost 30 years doing what he loves to do.

“Some say if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life,” Sockwell said. “I’ve never worked a day in my life.”

Even in retirement, Sockwell will continue to serve to keep community members safe. He will work on a con- tract basis with the U.S. Marshall’s Office at the Federal Building on East Jackson Ave. as a court security officer.

“I’m humbled,” he said after accepting the award.

Also taking home an award Thursday was Joe Maples as Outstanding Support Personnel.

Lafayette County Law Enforcement Awards.

Lafayette County Law Enforcement Awards.

Maples was nominated by his brother-in-law, Capt. Timmy Pruitt who said Maples started riding with him about eight years ago as a reserve officer. A reserve officer is not a paid position in the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department.

“He has shown loyalty from standing his post for several hours to staying late and assist- ing the next shift coming on,” Pruitt said. Maples was hired eventually as a transport officer which is a paid position but he still volunteers whenever asked,

“Not only have I been happy to call him brother-in-law for 20 years, but I am honored to call him my brother in law enforcement,” Pruitt said.

Maples said he was honored to receive the award.