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MSPBA Scholarship Recipient Samantha Doyle


By Katharine Jefcoats


For self-described “overachiever” Sammi Jo Doyle, failure is not an option. That drive to succeed has provided the guiding force for the Mississippi athlete to excel in the classroom and on the soccer field. She is the daughter of New Albany, Miss., police Lt. Phillip Jon “PJ” Doyle and Stephanie Doyle.


Sammi Jo Doyle and her father, Lt. Phillip Jon “PJ” Doyle


Doyle has 23 years in law enforcement. He is a member of MSPBA North East Mississippi Chapter. At age 28, I was working construction and wanted a career to better support my family,” he said. “A friend sent me to the police academy. I enjoy encouraging and helping others, and being a law enforcement officer allows me the opportunity to do that. I strive to be someone that people feel safe to come to for help and assistance.”


His daughter shares his compassion and the desire to lead and empower others. “I also have the desire to continue being an encouragement and positive example for others,” said Sammi Jo. “Having been a member of a team for so many years, I have witnessed and experienced firsthand the effects and power of a positive attitude. It can certainly make or break others and a group or organization. I already know that leaders empower others to be leaders and I desire to use my education to empower others.”


After graduating in 2023 from New Albany High School, Doyle is attending Holmes Community College where she continues playing soccer and studies kinesiology. Her plan is to pursue a bachelor’s degree at university and finish her education through an accredited physical therapy program. Doyle was a standout athlete at New Albany. She was selected to participate in All-Star and Showcase games with elite players from other states. She was awarded MVP and Best Offensive Player, All-Division and MAC All-Star. Doyle holds the record for single season goals and career goals for New Albany.


Off the field, Doyle enjoyed academic success and involvement in her community as a volunteer. “I have always worked hard to maintain good grades and be involved in extracurricular activities like Student Council, Mu Alpha Theta, Freshman Mentor and Anchor Club to participate in community service projects,” she said. “’Don’t wait for others to be loving, giving, compassionate, or friendly -- lead the way!’ is certainly what I’ve realized through my volunteer activities. “Helping at a local women’s ministry, I’ve seen firsthand how some women have lived the most devastating lives and have lost all sense of hope,” Doyle continued.


Her father’s high-profile in their community helped shape her philanthropic platform. Lt. Doyle had some positive experiences and some devastating experiences, she said. “I am honored to be the child of a police officer because I’ve always watched how he treats others and how others treat him,” she said. “We have a family joke that we can’t take him anywhere because he’s like a local celebrity. He knows everyone and everyone knows him – and they always have to talk to him.”Her father can make people feel good about themselves because he’s “always so positive. That’s why they always want to be around him,” she said. “As a police officer, many times he would leave a night shift, come home and change, then drive me to my soccer game, and still manage to muster the energy and enthusiasm to be one of my biggest cheerleaders.”


Samantha Doyle receives a check from North East Chapter (MSPBA) chapter President Cody Moore


As a police officer, her father encountered people who struggled in life because they had no encouragement and often no education to guide them or to help them to achieve a meaningful life. “Now, I realize why he has always encouraged me to believe in myself and be proud of my accomplishments,” she said. “I’ve learned to appreciate all I have and realize the importance of being compassionate and kind to others because we never know what goes on behind closed doors.”


Sammi Jo enjoys volunteering as a soccer coach to young children, saying she learned the importance of integrity. “I see the kids watching me and doing what I do,” she said. “They remind me that ‘whenever you do a thing, act as if the world were watching.’” A major highlight of her high school athletic career is helping her soccer team reach the state championship. “It was nearing the end of the second half of the North-Half Championship game and the score remained 0-0,” she said. “I received an assist from my teammate and decided to go for it. The crowd went crazy. ‘Y’all just made history, girls. You’re going to play in the State Championship,’ I heard the coach screaming.”


Lt. Doyle witnessed his daughter sign with Holmes Community College, to study and play soccer, the epitome of a proud parent eager to see what his child will do next in life. He is thrilled at the role his own career played in her achievement. “I’d like to thank the Police Benevolent Association for this scholarship and its continual support of law enforcement officers,” he said. “I’m proud of my daughter’s unrelenting work ethic, positive attitude, grit and determination. She has always had a ‘failure is just not an option’ attitude from a young age that emanates into all areas of her life.


“I consider it such an honor that she was selected as a recipient of this award,” continued Doyle. “She will use the money to support her education, but, more importantly, she will represent the values of the Association through her character and determination to succeed.”

Mississippi News
MSPBA Scholarship Recipient Samantha Doyle

April 10, 2024

For self-described "overachiever" Sammi Jo Doyle, failure is not an option. That drive to succeed has provided the guiding force for the Mississippi athlete to excel in the classroom and on the soccer field.

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February 5, 2024

proposes a supplemental pay stipend of $600 per month to certified law enforcement officers who have been working in such capacity for at least one year.