TCS to honor Croom’s services as they would one of their own

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Gracie Johnson and WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Kyle Hamrick

The first of many memorial services honoring Meridian Police officer and Tuscaloosa native Kennis Croom begins tomorrow, June 16.

After a memorial service held at Meridian High School’s gymnasium, mourners will travel to Tuscaloosa for a viewing at Northport Funeral & Cremation Services from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ron Abernathy said his office will honor Croom’s services as if he were a member of the department.

“Anything that they want and any way we can help, we’ve already done some things and we will do anything we can to assist them,” he said to the fallen officer’s family.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday, June 18 at Shelton State Community College’s Martin campus at 11 a.m., followed by a funeral service at 1 p.m.

Croom will then be interred at Memory Hill Gardens on Skyland Boulevard.

A longtime family friend, Tuscaloosa City Council President Kip Tyner described Croom’s long service in law enforcement as marks of a true hero.

“I do know especially the love that the community has had for the Croom family for decades, it will just be overrun and saying goodbye to a true hero. ‘Hero’ can be overused many times but Kennis was a hero,” he said.

According to an article by Darkhorse Press, a Mississippi news site covering law enforcement, the 30-year-old responded to a situation where a male suspect had allegedly killed a woman and was readying to kill four children. The suspect is said to have shot Croom before he fled the scene.

The Tuscaloosa Patch reported that Mississippi State Highway Patrol officers took Dante Bender, 31, into custody for the alleged murder of his wife and Croom Friday morning in Ackerman, Mississippi.

Officers from the Tuscaloosa and Northport police departments escorted Croom’s body home in a procession that started at the Greene County line and traveled up McFarland Boulevard to Northport Funeral & Cremation on Watermelon Road.

He studied at the University of Alabama, interned at the Tuscaloosa Police Department and worked for several departments in Alabama and Mississippi before he moved to Meridian.

Croom was the son of Kelvin Croom and Tracy Clyde, and brother of Kevin, Tamara and Teresa.

In lieu of flowers, the Croom family asks that donations be made to the Croom Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded to “make a difference in high crime, disadvantaged areas of West Alabama.”

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