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'We'll take it from here'

Law enforcement pays final respects to Officer Kennis Croom

'We'll take it from here': Law enforcement pays final respects to MPD Officer Kennis Croom

photos by Thomas Howard/The Meridian 

Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers practice the presentation of the colors prior to a memorial service for Meridian Police Department Officer Kennis Croom at Meridian High School on Thursday. Croom was killed during a domestic disturbance call on June 9.

 

Law enforcement from across Mississippi gather in the Meridian High School gymnasium for a memorial service for Meridian Police Department Officer Kennis Croom on Thursday.

Patrick Kirby remembers Kennis Croom as a joyful and kind person who loved to laugh.

“It hurts me deep down, because I honestly never thought I would be here for one of my own,” said Kirby, a retired MPD training officer who joined other law enforcement personnel at a memorial for Croom at Meridian High School Thursday. “Hopefully with this memorial, people will understand that we care, and to Croom, you can rest easy now, we’re gonna take it from here.”

'We'll take it from here': Law enforcement pays final respects to MPD Officer Kennis Croom

Rev. Thomas Davis Jr. provides music at the memorial service.

 

Officer Croom was shot to death during a domestic disturbance call on June 9. He was 30 years old.

In addition to working in Meridian, Ofc. Croom served as an officer in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the Hinds County Sheriff's Office, Brookhaven, the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office and Jackson.

“It was never a dull moment with Croom,” said Daniel Rushing, a corporal for the Jackson Police Department who worked with Ofc. Croom. “He was super nice and was just fun to be around.”

Rushing described Croom as a family man who truly loved his children and his job. The only disagreement he remembered between the two was Croom’s love for Alabama football and Rushing’s love for Ole Miss.

Rushing also remembered his friend as a dedicated officer who believed that the true work of an officer takes place in the community.

“Each community that he worked in, Croom took that community as if it was his own,” Rushing emphasized. “It didn’t matter where he landed, he always cared for the citizens. He will be truly missed.”

Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie agreed.

“He was an outstanding young man,” said Sollie. “He was a Christian man who always gave 100 percent. His family should be proud of him.”

'We'll take it from here': Law enforcement pays final respects to MPD Officer Kennis Croom

A wreath donated by the Blue Knights MS VI is displayed at the memorial service.

 

“I think every officer should take that oath of office with the mentality of wanting to be at the right spot, at the right time, to make a difference in somebody's life,” Sollie added.

About Officer Kennis Croom

Ofc. Croom was born July 2, 1991, the fourth of four children, to Rev. Dr. Kelvin Croom and Tracy Croom in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

'We'll take it from here': Law enforcement pays final respects to MPD Officer Kennis Croom

Croom 

He was a 2009 graduate of Paul W. Bryant High School where he lettered in basketball and football, and played tuba in the school’s Marching Stampede Band.

Expressing an interest in policing at an early age, he began riding with the Tuscaloosa Police Department as a 16-year-old civilian and later interned with the Tuscaloosa Police Department as a student at Stillman College.

In November 2013 Ofc. Croom became APOST certified by the State of Alabama and served as a patrol officer with the City of Uniontown, City of Eutaw, and the City of Vance.

In September 2017, he became certified by the State of Mississippi and served as an officer with City of Jackson, Hinds County Sheriff's Office, City of Brookhaven, Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office and made his final arrest as a patrol officer with the City of Meridian.

'We'll take it from here': Law enforcement pays final respects to MPD Officer Kennis Croom

A wreath donated by the Blue Knights MS VI honoring Meridian Police Officer Kennis Croom bears an inscription reading “Rest in Peace Brother. We’ll take it from here.”

Ofc. Croom fulfilled his dream of returning to college and in 2018, he graduated Magna Cum Laude as a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society from Hinds Community College with an Associate Degree in General Studies.

Ofc. Croom garnered many certifications during his tenure and served as a Crisis Intervention Officer, organized, and established the Meridian Mounted Police, served as a member of the Special Response Team and was a Narcotics Investigator.

'We'll take it from here': Law enforcement pays final respects to MPD Officer Kennis Croom

Officer Crystin Latta, who served as Officer Croom's partner, is comforted by a fellow officer at the service.

 

In 2020, Ofc. Croom earned a degree in Criminal Justice from Jackson State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He was also on the Dean's List, President List, and a member of the Tau Sigma National Honor Society.

He was also enrolled in the MBA program at Belhaven University.

In April 2022, he followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, father, and brother, to become a member of the Delta Phi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Ofc. Croom was a member of College Hill Missionary Baptist Church, where he was the church percussionist under the leadership of his grandfather and father.

Thursday’s memorial in Meridian was followed by a service Friday at Northport Funeral & Cremation Services in Northport, Alabama. On Saturday, a celebration of life will be held at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa. The body will lie in state from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and the service will begin at 1 p.m.

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