Beloved officer who lived in car suspended in air, spent days in commercial freezer all to support crime prevention dies

Published 3:32 pm Monday, September 11, 2023

A retired and beloved Mississippi police officer who once lived in a police cruiser suspended 60 feet in the air by a crane and spent four days in a commercial icebox as a champion for crime prevention has died.

Retired Vicksburg police sergeant Doug Arp, affectionately known as the area’s “zaniest crime fighter” and the unofficial historian of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, died at approximately 2 a.m. Monday, his family announced.

Arp, who began his illustrious career in law enforcement with the Port Gibson Police Department, was a champion for crime prevention and historic recognition for fallen officers in Warren and Claiborne counties. For more than 30 years, Arp conducted annual stunts in the name of crime prevention.

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“When I took office in 1996, and he retired from the Vicksburg Police Department, Doug came on with us and was our unofficial historian,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said. “He was a volunteer. He coordinated our National Night Out programs — every one since I’ve been in office.”

Arp was recognized at the local, state and national level for his work with National Night Out. Over the years, his stunts included spending weeks in a dumpster, in the mall water fountain, atop a billboard, and in a hole in the ground. Arp also coordinated a snake exhibit with the Jackson Zoo to “take a bite out of crime,” among other stunts.

In 2010, Arp and Pace marched in women’s shoes as part of a separate event to promote awareness of sexual crimes against women.

“Doug’s antics were solely for the purpose of attracting attention so people would hear the message of crime prevention,” Pace said. “Doug loved people and really understood the value of communicating with the public about crime prevention.”

In addition to the annual publicity stunts, in later years, Arp devoted his time to preserving history and honoring fallen officers in Port Gibson, Vicksburg and Warren County. Thanks to his work, since 2017, seven markers have been placed on the graves of fallen officers who were not properly recognized for dying in the line of duty.

Most recently, Arp partnered with Gibson Monuments to place a marker at the grave of Deputy Sheriff Jasper Luckett, who was shot and killed in the Waltersville community in 1943.

In addition to graveside recognitions, Arp was instrumental in getting the names of local fallen officers added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

“We were saddened to hear of Doug’s passing. We ask everyone who knew and loved Sgt. Arp to keep his family in their prayers,” Pace said, adding that his office will continue Arp’s legacy.

The National Night Out event is traditionally held in the first week of October. Although organizers will miss Arp tremendously, Pace said, the department will continue participating in the event in his memory.

Funeral arrangements for Arp have not yet been announced.