Members of the Hampton Police Department are mourning the death of a long-serving retired officer.

Off. Bill Cronin worked full-time at the Hampton Police Department for 21 years and was in law enforcement for a total of 36 years. He retired in March of 2017, according to a social media post.

The post by Hampton police officials had 224 reactions and 34 comments in less than a day.

Officials at the Hampton Fire Department wrote, "Our condolences to your officers and to his family. He was an incredible man and an asset to our community."

People described Cronin as a wonderful man with a big heart and as a "third shift legend."

One person wrote that they felt safer because they knew Cronin was watching over the community during the wee hours of the morning.

According to Cronin's obituary, he died of natural causes at the age of 66 on Monday.

"Although being a police officer filled him with deep professional achievement, he was happiest talking about and being with his family. Gatherings were never complete without his signature smile and twinkling blue eyes sharing stories of his grandchildren and his favorite hobby, which was reminiscing with cousins, emphasizing his pride in his Scottish and Irish heritage," the obituary said.

A memorial walk-through service will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Aug. 14 at the J. Verne Wood Funeral Home – Buckminster Chapel, which is located at 84 Broad Street in Portsmouth.

Family and friends are asked to follow COVID protocol including social distancing. Face coverings will be required, according to Cronin's obituary.

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at Kimberley.Haas@townsquaremedia.com.

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