HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Fallen officer Billy Clardy III was a decorated member of the Huntsville Police Department, but his experience ranged far beyond the city limits.
"He was an Iraq war veteran. Over 20 years of law enforcement experience. Giving back to many communities in Tennessee, Limestone County, and the city of Huntsville," said Captain Jeffery Rice with the Huntsville Police Department.
Those who worked with him closely said he was a dedicated officer.
"In 2018 he was selected to work in the STAC unit because of his knowledge, his performance on the street and because everything he did for the Huntsville Police Department since 2005 was in North Huntsville. He knew North Huntsville," said Chief Mark McMurray of the Huntsville Police Department.
"Billy and I go all the way to when we were 8-years-old playing football at the YMCA on Blue Spring Road. Billy is a North Huntsville resident, loved the community. As for working together, we worked together at the north precinct. He was the community relations officer," said Captain Jeffery Rice with the Huntsville Police Department.
Chief McMurray said many people in the community knew and respected him. Not just because of his badge, but because of his kind heart.
"Billy knew all the homeless in Huntsville, he knew where every homeless camp was. He knew the phone numbers of every person who had one in the homeless camps. And he took a great deal of care and love dealing with our homeless," said Chief McMurray.
Chief McMurray said when officers walk out of their homes each day, they know the job they have to do and the risks they face.
McMurray added through the challenges, officers have to remain optimistic and focused, but unfortunately, sometimes things like this happen.
Leaving not just a family, but an entire police force and community brokenhearted.
But one police captain said it's important for the community to remember officers are just like them.
"We're human just like everybody else, we cry, we laugh, we have families just like everybody else does," said Captain JesHenry Malone with the Huntsville Police Department.