Borum serves area in many different uniforms

Published 12:36 am Monday, August 9, 2010

NATCHEZ — Don’t be surprised if Tom Borum is in a different uniform every time you see him.

This local jack-of-all-trades has three or four jobs, depending on how you count them, but just one goal.

Borum is a local veterinarian, assistant commander of the Metro Narcotics Task Force, a patrolman with the Natchez Police Department, a reserve deputy with the Adams County Sheriff’s office, a pilot and flight instructor.

Email newsletter signup

While it may seem a little disjointed to connect the dots from career to career, Borum said the way he sees it, they all fit together.

“To me, what I do is all about helping the community that I love in whatever ways I can,” he said. “I grew up here, wanted to come back here after school and want to stay here. All you can do is do your part in making your community a better place.”

Borum returned to Natchez after graduating from veterinary school at Mississippi State University. He immediately set up a private practice treating large and small animals. It wasn’t booming business potential that brought him back to Natchez though. It was the community, he said.

“I knew I wasn’t going to come back here and make a ton of money being a vet, but that is never the motivation for things I do,” he said. “I always wanted to be a vet, and for as long as I can remember, I wanted to do it in Natchez.”

And since making the decision to come home, everything else has just fallen into place.

As his vet practice grew to include taking care of herd animals in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, he found the need to fly himself to and from appointments.

“I always wanted to learn to fly, but I never thought I would have the opportunity,” he said. “My veterinary practice afforded me the opportunity, and I took it.”

But he didn’t just learn to fly. He learned as much as he could about flying.

Now he has his instrument, commercial, multi-engine and airline transport pilot licenses.

“I didn’t want to fall into that cliché about doctors not being very good pilots,” he said. “My parents never forced us to do anything, but always encouraged us to do everything we did to the best of our abilities, and that is the theory I applied to flying.”

He is also a certified instrument, single-engine and multi-engine flight instructor and certified in basic ground instruction, advanced ground instruction and instrument ground instruction.

“Someone once told me that to be a better pilot, you have to become an instructor, so that is what I did,” Borum said.

In addition to flying for his vet practice, he has also flown for the forestry commission searching for forest fires and an oil company inspecting pipelines among other ventures.

Much of his time now is spent on the ground protecting his fellow citizens.

After becoming interested in law enforcement, Borum completed a reserve deputy training program offered through the Adams County Sheriff’s Office by the late Ronny Brown.

He put that training and more to work with the Natchez Police Department.

“Back a few years ago when Natchez was having a problem with home invasions, one of the problems was that there wasn’t enough man power to patrol the streets,” Borum said. “I called (NPD) Chief (Mike) Mullins and said ‘What can I do to help? Can you use me?’”

Borum went through the application process and was one of only two applicants at the time to pass the required written examination and the only applicant to pass the oral exam.

He then went on to attend the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Training Academy in Pearl.

“I was the oldest person in my class and graduated at the top of my class,” Borum said. “I was pretty proud of that. I just woke up every day at the academy and did my best.

“One day one of the instructors called my name, and I went straight to attention. He asked me why I was there. I didn’t even think about it, and I just said ‘this recruit is here to give back to the community that has given so much to me.’”

After working with NPD for a year and a half, Borum requested to become part of the Metro Narcotics task force. Metro Narcotics is comprised of officers from the NPD and deputies from the ACSO and is under the command of David Lindsey.

“I was disgusted by the amount of crime and in particular drug crime that was in this community that we all want to feel safe in,” Borum said. “I thought this was a place that I could help my community.

“In everything in law enforcement I’ve been involved in I feel so blessed to work with such dedicated officers. Natchez and Adams County should be proud of their police department and their sheriff’s office.”

Borum also works on weekends as a patrol officer doing seat belt patrol with NPD.

His dedication was something he learned from growing up in a house where only the best was accepted, he said.

“I had great parents,” he said. “They taught me that, to do anything, I have to do the best I can. They taught me that you have to learn as much as you can and now I can read myself to sleep reading Mississippi law books.”