Atlanta Police Department Public Affairs
226 Peachtree Street SW • Atlanta, Georgia 30303
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11/04/12
Atlanta Police Mourn Loss of Two Officers in Tragic Helicopter Crash
The City of
Atlanta Police Department (APD) lost two officers in a helicopter crash late
Saturday night. The Department’s Air
Unit had been called to assist with a search for a missing 9-year-old boy in
northwest Atlanta when witnesses said the helicopter lost control and crashed
to the ground around 10:30 p.m.
officers killed on impact were:
Officer Richard J. Halford of Lithia
Springs, age 48, joined the APD in May 1986. He had been with the Air Unit for
more than 16 years, serving as a pilot. Officer Halford has also served in the
Department’s Zone 4 precinct, the Motors and DUI units. He is survived by his
former wife, and a 21-year-old daughter.
- Officer Shawn A. Smiley of Lithonia,
age 40, joined the APD in October 2010. He had been with the Air Unit since earlier
this year, serving as a tactical flight officer. He previously served in the
Department’s Zone 2 precinct. He is survived by his wife and three children,
ages 5, 7, and 9.
Police Department is coordinating assistance and grief counseling to the
families of the officers, and the fallen officers’ colleagues in APD’s Air
funds have been set up to benefit the officers' families through any Wells
Fargo bank location. Contributions may be made in the name of the officers
beginning at noon on Monday. Funeral arrangements will be announced.
Turner and Mayor Kasim Reed expressed appreciation for the brave officers and
condolences to the families.
hearts and prayers are with the families of Officer Shawn Smiley and Officer Richard
Halford on this difficult day in the City of Atlanta," said Mayor Reed.
"The entire city stands with the families and the Atlanta Police
Department during this time of grief."
Halford and Officer Shawn Smiley died honorably, serving our citizens and our
police force,” said Chief Turner. “Every day, they provided air support for our
officers, assisting in major events and searches for suspects and missing persons.
Their value to our citizens and our officers on the street is incalculable. Last
night they made the ultimate sacrifice in those endeavors. Please join us in
honoring their valiant legacies and praying for their families and our
Department as we grieve their loss.”
released earlier today follows:
after 9 p.m. on Saturday, November 3rd, Atlanta Police Department
officers responded to a report of a missing child at 1855 Joseph E. Boone Blvd.
APD's Air Unit helicopters responded to assist with the search. Around 10:30
p.m., witnesses reported that the helicopter crashed to the ground at Hamilton
E. Holmes, near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Both officers on board were
killed on impact.
accident is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and
George Turner and Mayor Kasim Reed expressed their sympathies for the families
of the fallen officers and concern and support for their grieving colleagues.
an officer is the most difficult thing a police chief can face," said
Chief Turner. "Losing two is an unthinkable tragedy. Our hearts go out to
the families of these officers and our thoughts and prayers are with them. This
is a difficult day for the APD family and it is a reminder of their bravery and
the sacrifices made by our officers every day."
am deeply saddened by the terrible accident that claimed the lives of two
on-duty Atlanta Police Department officers," said Mayor Reed. "We
mourn these two brave men and offer our deepest condolences to their families
and loved ones. We also pause to extend our sympathy to the men and women of
the police department who place their lives in harm's way every day to keep our
city safe, and who especially feel the pain of this loss."
The mission of the Atlanta Police Department is to reduce crime and promote the quality of life, in partnership with our community.