Protecting and serving: Officer Patrick Kirby

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Officer Patrick Kirby has been a part of the Meridian Police Dept. for more than two decades. But if you're a fellow officer, you might know him by another name.

"We call him Papa around the station," Sgt. Dareall Thompson says.

He's the newest member of our Eleven Who Care team.

"We are out here because we care about people," Kirby says. "We are out here because we care about our neighborhood, our community."

And Papa has a unique way of showing that to the community.

Kirby likes to get out in the community and meet the people he serves. He especially loves surprising young kids with stuffed animals. He says he wants to change the way people see police by being proactive instead of reactive.

"He's the type of officer that's willing to help anybody," Sgt. Thompson says. "It doesn't make a difference what race. He shows the different side of law enforcement."

"I think a lot of people have the wrong perception of officers," Leander Hausley says after meeting Officer Kirby. "Nobody wants to have dealings with them. They're here to protect and serve and I think they do a great job. I'm sure they don't hear that enough, but I mean, I appreciate them."

Officer Kirby is also the honor guard commander for the police department. And he trains the new hires.

"I tell the new hires that to be a police officer, you've got to first get rid of who you think you are and become the person that you can be," he says. "I love doing this. To me, there's nothing better than a police officer that can make a child not be afraid of them."

If you'd like to nominate someone for 11 Who Care, you may stop by the station to pick up an application or print one from the link attached.