February 19, 2024

Remembering Tchula Police Chief Kenneth Hampton, who walked tall

Therese Apel

Tchula Police Chief Kenny Hampton

Police Chief Kenny Hampton, 54, was no doubt one of the most colorful and charismatic characters in all of Mississippi Law Enforcement not just in his era, but possibly in any.

Hampton, who was strong and wiry, but not a big man, had the strut and the audacity of anyone three times his size, and an even bigger heart. It wasn’t because he carried the proverbial big stick, it was because he knew his arsenal contained truth and justice.


The former Marine’s enormous heart gave out on him this weekend. According to Yazoo County Coroner Ricky Shivers, Hampton died at the hospital after a heart attack.

It wasn’t just his heart that broke though.

There in Holmes County, where Tchula is, there’s not a lot of justice for thieves and criminals. It’s just one of those places where you know that if your deer camp gets burglarized or your child disappears, you may not have an answer for a very long time, if at all.

But Hampton tried to make a difference in that. For years he fought for justice for a man he believed was killed in cold blood, even making documentaries and saving taped confessions so that one day maybe he’d find the right agency that would help him with the case.

“I care,” he told The Clarion-Ledger’s Billy Watkins in 2016. “When somebody breaks in to somebody’s home and takes things that people have worked hard to be able to buy, I take it personal. It might as well be my house or my mom’s house that they broke in.”

He carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. It was the burden of caring about what was right and actually standing for it, especially standing almost completely by himself sometimes. Hampton didn’t toe the line. If he felt something was corrupt, he spoke against it. If you were a suspect in a crime, he called you out on social media in no uncertain terms.

“I’m not your average Chief Of Police! In my town if you do the crime be prepared to pay the fine or do the time. If you think you can run from me and get away with the crimes you’ve committed, YOU CAN’T! Your only way out is to turn yourself in OR go with options A and B,” he posted in 2016. “Option A: Move to the moon. Option B: Build you a nest in a Eagles A– and hope he never has to s–t!!”

It made it hard for him to be a lawman in a community that didn’t always love the law, because those who don’t love the law really hate the truth. There was all sorts of commentary on the way he conveyed his point, because how dare a former marine use colorful language to get his point across?


But those who knew him, loved him. His audacity, his quick wit, his iron-clad courage. Kenny Hampton was everything anyone would want in a protector, whether it’s in the U.S. Military or in a police chief’s chair. Funny enough, beneath all that swagger was a really incredibly humble personality. During his time as a Marine Corps recruiter, Hampton had learned how to communicate effectively, even if it was a little unconventional.

There aren’t enough words to describe my friend Chief Hampton or to speak of the impact of his loss, so I’ll stop before I mess it all up.

Godspeed, Kenny. You were the real deal, and this is a loss we’ll mourn for a long time. Semper fi, my friend.

Share this Article


Related Articles