EUPORA, Miss. (WCBI)- Tragedy struck in a major way for the men and women in blue when Biloxi Police Officer Robert McKeithen was shot and killed more than a week ago.
Dealing with this type of tragedy can be tough for any department.
It’s a pain the Eupora Police Department dealt with when Corporal Keith Crenshaw was killed in 2013.
“He had a big heart. He would help anybody,” said Sgt. Lawrence Caradine, who worked with Crenshaw for four years.
Before you walk into the Eupora Police Department you’ll be greeted with a memorial honoring the late Crenshaw.
“He was a community police officer,” said Caradine. “He always made sure you checked on the older people.”
For more than a decade Crenshaw proudly gave his all to his community and department.
He resonated with a lot of people, that’s why when he was killed while chasing suspects involved in an attempted armed robbery, it rocked his community like never before.
“That hurt, that hurt,” Caradine expressed. “You’ll never forget it, it’ll stay with you. The puzzle will never be put back together completely. We will always have a lost piece there.”
Caradine said he and fellow officers had to lean on their family, community, and one another to overcome this tragedy.
“You have counseling people come down and talk to you and try to get you through it, give you their number in case you need to call them,” Caradine described. “You’re going to have your bad times when you go home and you’re sitting there and you’re thinking about it, you cry a little bit. You have your family at home and you know you can call the other guys and they will come out, come over your house, and you always talk and grab something to eat, it helps a lot.”
Caradine said they also received a lot of support from other agencies as well to help get them through the tough time.
“When we had to take off for it we had Starkville officers coming in, we had Webster County officers to come in and help us out so we can take off and get ourselves together,” he recalled.
When this type of devastation strikes that’s when the band of blue shows its strength and unity.
The Eupora Police Department currently has its thin blue line flag on display to show their support for the Biloxi Police Department, using their experience to uplift another band of brothers in their time if need.
“I know we’ve been trained, we go through this, but we still have a heart and we still have a mind,” Caradine expressed. “When you are going through something like this you’re still human, you still need that support. Somebody to come and tell you, hey it’s going to be OK. I got you, who do you need me to talk to, I got you. We’re still human.”
So far this year, 19 officers all across the U.S. have been shot and killed while in the line of duty.