Fallen officer Kennis Croom honored in Meridian one year after death

On June 9, 2022, the cities of Meridian, Mississippi, and Tuscaloosa lost a piece of their hearts when Meridian Police Officer Kennis Croom was shot and killed in the line of duty.

Croom was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, but was working as a police officer in Meridian at the time of his death.

On Friday, the one-year anniversary of his death, Meridian renamed E Street near the police department to Kennis W. Croom Street. The honor ensures officers heading to and from work will always remember the man who died while doing his job.

Croom’s family alongside his brothers and sisters in blue took part in the heartwarming ceremony.

“It makes the officers feel better. It makes me feel better to pull up and see his name on the sign,” Meridian Police Chief Deborah Young-Naylor said.

Kennis Croom was the baby of the family, born to Tracey and Kelvin Croom in 1991 after siblings Tamara, Kevin and Teresa. They all miss him terribly.

“You have your good days and bad days,” said older brother Kevin Croom. “There are some days that everything is fine and you smile. And there are other days you are by yourself and you just cry.”

Also a part of this special day was the family of Brittany Jones, who died during the call Croom was answering. Her mother is now caring for the four children she left behind.

“He is a great hero,” said Jones’ mother Louise Anderson. “He did what he could to try to save her.”

The day continued down the street at L.O.V.E’s Kitchen, a place Croom volunteered and served the less fortunate. His family did the same on Friday in his memory.

“Officer Croom wanted those plates full,” said Executive Director Fannie Johnson. “Every plate is a Croom-sized plate today.”

This day was all about honoring Croom and living like him, so the next stop was Meridian Manor, where Croom spent time making residents’ days brighter.

The Croom family spent that afternoon playing bingo with residents just like Kennis did during his free time.

“He is so missed,” said Meridian Manor Director Dorothy Moore. “I will always keep in touch with his family, because they said that I was their family, too. That meant so much to me.”

In an ideal world, this day of honor and tribute would have never had to happen, but these families are led by faith.

It’s what’s gotten them through the dark days, and it will carry them until they can see their loved ones again.

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