HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Two years ago, on December 6, 2019, Huntsville Police Officer Billy Clardy III was killed in the line of duty.
He was a member of the Strategic Counter-Drug Team (STAC) and was shot during a planned drug buy with the department. He died at Huntsville Hospital that night.
Exactly two years later, HPD is remembering him and the legacy he leaves behind.
Lt. Tony McElyea describes Clardy as “an officer that every officer should strive to be like.” He says not a day goes by that he doesn’t think about his friend and colleague.
“It’s been two years,” said Lt. McElyea. “It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long, but it’s also flown by at the same time because we think about him constantly. We try to honor him, respect him, try to emulate what he’s left behind as far as the type of officer that he was.”
Though they started working at HPD within the same year, Lt. McElyea was Clardy’s supervisor at the time.
“It’s just one of those days I’ll never forget,” he says. “I’ll never forget where I was, what I was doing. Like any traumatic event, you can replay it again like it was yesterday.”
McElyea says the guys and girls on the STAC team visit Clardy’s gravesite every year on the anniversary of his death: “We speak to him, we visit with him. We’re together as a team.”
Lt. McElyea says Clardy continues to inspire the team to this day.
“Billy was the ultimate professional,” he said. “His dedication to this city, to the department, was unwavering. He was somebody that everybody wanted to show up to their house when they were in a time of crisis. He was that person. He was a great teammate, he was a great person to work beside, alongside. He made the job fun while he was being productive, while he was serving this city in a great way.”
One of the reasons HPD has been able to heal over the past two years is the unwavering community support from Huntsville citizens.
STAC Agent Billy Clardy III’s name is etched right beside his father’s at the officer memorial outside of HPD so generations to come will remember the sacrifice he made, serving and protecting the citizens of Huntsville.