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GCVHCS Chief of Police, VA Police Officer Participate in National Police Week 5K

Police Week Run
BILOXI, Miss. – Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (GCVHCS) Chief of Police Services F. Keith Bradley participated May 15 in the virtual National Police Week 5K 2022, escorted by GCVHCS Police Services Cpl. Jason Attaway who drove one of the organization's vehicles. National Police Week, established in 1962, pays recognition to law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others and is observed this year May 15-21. Since 1985, nine VA Police Officers have lost their lives in the line of duty. (Official GCVHCS photos by Wayne Alley)

BILOXI, Miss. – In recognition of a U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) police officer killed in the line of duty, the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (GCVHCS) Chief of Police Services participated in an annual run May 13 dedicated to fallen VA police officers.

   F. Keith Bradley, the GCVHCS Chief of Police Services, ran the 5K around the Biloxi VA Medical Center campus, escorted in a police vehicle driven by Cpl. Jason Attaway, a GCVHCS Police Service employee. Bradley ran the 3.1 miles in honor of VA Police Officer Marvin Bland, a Marine Corps Veteran killed in an automobile accident while responding to a fire alarm at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts.

   “[Officer] Bland was – and will always be – part of the police services brotherhood, and to take part in a run dedicated to him and other VA police officers killed in the line of duty is an honor,” Bradley, a U.S. Air Force Veteran, said. “Our job creates a unique bond among ourselves as we assist our Veterans with integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence – values our police officers hold dear.”

   The annual VA-wide 5K run came at the onset of National Police Week, an observance designed to pay recognition to law enforcement officers. Observed this year May 15 through 21, National Police Week was established in 1962, when President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. Along with recognizing law enforcement officials continued efforts, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

    Bradley added that the dozens of VA police officers at the GCVHCS’ five facilities in three states are dedicated to ensuring the Veterans and other eligible beneficiaries they serve are safe when attending appointments, as well as ensuring the organization’s daily operations run smoothly.

   “As VA police officers, our efforts are concentrated on the safety of our nation’s heroes and their families when they visit our facilities,” he said. “But we’re also often the first person a visitor can encounter at the GCVHCS. We’re committed to ensuring each and every Veteran who comes through our doors has a positive experience – if that’s providing directions to a building or area of the facility or helping with an automobile issue or simply engaging the men and women reliant on us for any sort of assistance, we’re dedicated to helping.”

   The GCVHCS is comprised of the Biloxi Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center and the Mobile, Pensacola, Eglin and Panama City community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs). Headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi, the GCVHCS provides a variety of medical outpatient services to more than 82,000 Veterans and other eligible beneficiaries along the Mississippi, Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast.

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