“We want to express our sympathy for your loss,” Sheriff Karl Gaillard said in opening remarks directed to Jane Crenshaw. “Your husband was an outstanding deputy.”
The Purple Heart award was presented by Gail Wilson and Robert Bramlett, who are with the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 801 in Oxford.
The plaque, containing a copy of Concurrent Resolution No. 534, was presented by Sens. Eric Powell of Corinth, and Bill Stone of Ashland. They said Rep. Greg Ward of Ripley was in Jackson and unable to attend the ceremony.
The resolution mourns the loss and commends the dedicated law enforcement and military service of Crenshaw, 62, who died while responding to a disturbance call in December.
The Legislature has also passed what’s known as the DeWayne Crenshaw bill. It outlaws chemicals used in bath salts that can be used to get high. The man accused of shooting Crenshaw to death is widely believed to have been high from bath salts at the time of the incident.
Jane Crenshaw expressed her appreciation for the award and the plaque, saying there was still a great deal of pain. “Every day is difficult,” she said.
She said later her late husband was highly intelligent. “He’s been described as a man small in size but large in stature, who never backed away from a challenge.
“He was a kidder with a great sense of humor. He often said that he was once 6 feet tall, but 500 parachute jumps had reduced him to his height of 5 feet 5 inches.”
Crenshaw is believed to be the first law enforcement officer in more than 60 years to die in line of duty in Tippah County.
Crenshaw was a retired U. S. Army master sergeant who earned several Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star in Vietnam. He had worked for the sheriff’s department for several years as a deputy and jailor. His son, Adam, works for the Sheriff’s Department as a jailor.
Franklin Fitzpatrick, 26, of Pontotoc, has been indicted for capital murder in Crenshaw’s death. He is being held at the state penitentiary at Parchman.