WATCH LIVE: Officer Croom a hero, say family, friends and coworkers
Beginning at 12:45 p.m. Saturday, click here to view Officer Croom’s celebration of life services.
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Kyle Hamrick
The people who knew Officer Kenny Croom described him as a person with a generous heart who devoted his life to serving people, protecting them and making life better for them.
The 30-year-old started his career in policing as an intern at the Tuscaloosa Police Department, then joined police departments in Vance, Eutaw, Jackson and Brookhaven, Mississippi before moving to Meridian.
He was killed last Thursday, June 9, while investigating a domestic violence case. He responded to a situation where a male suspect had allegedly murdered a woman, and was readying to kill four children. The suspect fled the scene, and was arrested in Ackerman, Mississippi on Friday, June 10.
His body returned home Friday afternoon, escorted by scores of police cruisers with lights flashing and sirens wailing.
The northbound lane of McFarland Boulevard laid open for Tuscaloosa and Northport police to carry Croom’s body to Northport Funeral & Cremation Services.
Cars in the opposite lane pulled over to the side of the road, or else waited in the lanes where they were, as the long line of police cars processed.
Officers and departments paid tribute to Croom in the days following his death. Their words were a testament to Croom’s character and the affect he had on those with whom he worked.
“Every time you saw him, he had a million dollar smile on,” said Eutaw Police Chief Tommy Johnson.
“He was just a great officer who paid the ultimate sacrifice doing what he does best: protecting and serving people.”
In a memorial service held at Meridian High School, Officer Crystin Latta of the Meridian Police Department said Croom would go out of his way to make people feel recognized.
“He died doing what he loved, which was helping people, and his legacy will continue through the officers he taught, myself included,” she said.
Even in death, Croom continued to fulfill his mission of service. He registered as an organ donor, and his decision to do so ensured people in need could have a new chance to live.
Tuscaloosa Police Deputy Chief Sebo Sanders said the decision did not surprise him.
“It is not surprising to see him being a donor, to have someone else go on and live their legacy like he lived his,” he said.
Croom will be honored with a celebration of life service at Shelton State Community College’s Martin Campus on Saturday, June 18 at 11 a.m. He will lie in state until 12:30, and services will begin at 1 p.m.
Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ron Abernathy said his department would honor Croom’s funeral as if he were one of their own.
Following the services at Shelton State, Croom will be laid to rest at Memory Hill Gardens on Skyland Boulevard.
For devoting his life to standing up for those who could not stand up for themselves, for serving so many communities in Alabama and Mississippi and teaching others to do the same and for ensuring life can continue even in his death, Croom will be remembered as a true hero.
The son of Kelvin Croom and Tracy Clyde, the brother of Kevin, Tamara and Teresa, Croom leaves behind many family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, the 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.”