HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The Huntsville community continues to mourn the loss of Huntsville police officer Billy Clardy, and within the city, there's another community that will miss his support and companionship.
Sherry Birney is a minister and volunteer at Grateful Life Community Church in Huntsville. She recalls that Officer Clardy spent a lot of time getting to know Huntsville's homeless.
"You see, they saw him as a friend first," she said. "A police officer. Who would detoxify and destress the situation that become really difficult when you're living on the street."
She said Officer Clardy befriended people that may normally shy away from police.
"He saw them as people he could share his life with, and inspire them," she said. "And it did."
She thinks other officers and community members can still learn a lot from his compassion.
"For them to take the time, and not make pre-assumed decisions, could change a lot of people's lives. And I think his son is going to be a fine example of that.”