By Danza Johnson and Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Wednesday was bittersweet for Lisa Hood and Jane Crenshaw – a little more on the bitter side.
Their husbands, Sgt. Steve Hood and Deputy DeWayne Crenshaw, were memorialized along with all 51 other law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty in Northeast Mississippi. As Lisa Hood and Jane Crenshaw listened to colleagues of their late husbands talk about how the men touched their lives, both smiled and often responded, “That sounds like my husband.”
“This is so overwhelming to see so many people in uniform here honoring DeWayne,” said Crenshaw. “He loved his job and loved serving the people. He would have been so humbled by all of this. He was a man of God. I will help to carry on his legacy.”
Crenshaw, a Tippah County deputy, was killed on Dec. 3, 2010, while assisting on a domestic call. He was shot.
“Deputy Crenshaw was a good one,” said Tippah County Sheriff Karl Gaillard. “He didn’t want any praise for what he did, he just did his job.”
Hood, a Mississippi highway patrolman, was killed May 29, 2009, during a high-speed chase near Brice’s Crossroads. At 11 a.m. Friday, a portion of Highway 370 where Hood was killed will be renamed after him.
Lisa Hood said her husband died doing what he loved to do.
“He died protecting the people of Mississippi,” she said. “It’s an honor to see all these people here to honor all our fallen.”
Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner Albert Santa Cruz was the event’s keynote speaker. Cruz commended all the state and local law enforcers on the jobs they do. He encouraged them to keep the families of the fallen in their lives.
“Go by and talk to the families of these men,” urged Cruz. “Let them know you are thinking about them and that they are still a part of our family.”
In Oxford, Wednesday’s ceremony reflected thanks that local, state and federal agencies were spared any deaths or life-changing injuries in their ranks in the past year.
Lafayette County Board of Supervisors President Lloyd Oliphant told officers present, “It takes a special kind of man or woman to step up and fill the peacekeeping role in our society. The citizens of Lafayette County appreciate your service and the protection you provide.”
Oxford Mayor Pat Patterson added, “We remember and honor not only those who made the ultimate sacrifice, but also the many who serve quietly, efficiently, professionally and on a daily basis, never knowing when the next call will come.”
Investigator Scott Mills of the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department urged younger officers to learn from older ones – especially regarding safety and its role in getting them home to their loved ones each day.
University Police Department was the last Lafayette County agency to lose an officer in the line of duty when Robert Langley was killed in October 2006 while trying to make an arrest.
“Some of our officers are more cautious because of that,” said UPD Chief Calvin Sellers. “It makes an impact.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1586 or firstname.lastname@example.org.