Fallen officers Croom, Johnson being added to D.C. memorial this weekend
Two West Alabama families are taking a somber trip to the nation’s capital this weekend, where they’ll see their heroes added to a memorial for fallen officers.
Bibb County Deputy Brad Johnson and Tuscaloosa native Kennis Croom were shot and killed in the line of duty in 2022.
Along with nearly 6,000 others from all over the country, Croom and Johnson’s names will be engraved into the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., this weekend.
“It feels like it was just yesterday,” said Investigator Chris Poole.
While Poole isn’t related to Johnson by blood, he is just as much his brother. Poole was shot during the same incident that took Johnson’s life, and they were close friends and partners on the job. That’s why Poole is traveling to D.C. with Johnson’s daughters Lana and Livy to witness Johnson’s posthumous honor.
“We will never be able to get closure, but I think we will learn how to cope with it more,” Poole said. “It is going to be a lot of people there that have been through the same thing we have been through, and as little girls they do not know how to feel, what to expect when it comes to that ”
Croom was raised in Tuscaloosa and worked at the Tuscaloosa Police Department for years, but was working in Mississippi with the Meridian Police Department when he was shot and killed.
“He died doing what he enjoyed,” said father Kelvin Croom. “Law enforcement was in his blood. He made a difference in the lives of four young people there in Meridian, Mississippi that they can enjoy this day. So that’s consoling, but at the same time I just wish that this nation would embrace their law enforcement personnel. Yes, there are some bad cops, bad apples in the barrel, but there are far more good law enforcement officers just trying to make a difference. We need to make sure we let them know each and every day that we appreciate their sacrifices. ”
Croom’s sister Terese Bivens said her brother’s name will be a stark reminder, but the family is thankful for his legacy.
“We are so proud that the nation will be able to honor him, not only here in Tuscaloosa or Meridian but for the entire capitol, for the United States,” Bivens said. “We are really excited and very proud for that moment.”
“To see his name on that wall is like, ‘Brother ,well done,’ ” said sister Tamara Croom. “You have served your purpose and the nation acknowledges the work you did, the sacrifice you made, and so you can rest. I will continue to make sure that his legacy lives on until their is no breath in our bodies.”