Hundreds of fellow officers from around the state and the southeast, family and friends gathered at Jackson Memorial Baptist Church on Friday to say goodbye to one of the officers killed in a helicopter crash last weekend. Richard Halford, along with Shawn Smiley, were searching for a child when their chopper went down.
The procession for Halford left the Gold Lot at Turner Field shortly before 10 a.m., and arrived at the church about 20 minutes later.
Among those addressing the attendees were Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta Police Chief George Turner.
Reed said that to those who knew him, Halford was a special man who would do anything to try and help a person.
Last weekend, Officer Halford was piloting an APD helicopter that crashed while looking for a runaway child. The chopper clipped the top of a utility police, fell to the ground and then burst into flames. The crash claimed the life of Halford and Flight Tactical Officer Shawn Smiley.
Halford, 48, was the department's most experienced pilot. He was assigned to the air unit for 16 years and served with the department for 26 years. He leaves behind an adult daughter.
The family of Officer Smiley will receive visitors on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Levett and Sons Funeral Home. His funeral will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Atlanta on North Peachtree Road.
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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