Officer Shawn Smiley laid to rest - Dallas News |

Officer Shawn Smiley laid to rest

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Saturday, was the second day the law enforcement community joined a grieving family to remember the life of an officer lost in the line of duty.

It was just one short week ago that the helicopter that Officer Shawn A. Smiley and Officer Richard J. Halford were aboard hit a utility pole and crashed, claiming both officer's lives. They were on a mission to find a runaway child.

The widow and three children of Flight Tactical Officer Shawn Smiley were joined by hundreds of officers at First Baptist Church of Atlanta on Saturday morning to say their final goodbyes.

His mother said she wanted to say goodbye to her son the way she brought him into the world. And she did, singing to him during the solemn ceremony.

View photos from Saturday's ceremony for Officer Smiley here

Smiley's daughter spoke of how he would drive her to school each day, starting her day in the right mood.

Friends remembered the Lithonia man for his drive and ambition something reflected in how Mayor Kasim Reed memorialized the 40-year-old pilot.

Atlanta Police Chief George Turner called upon the mourners to be more like Officer Smiley. He said everyone should follow his example and make a difference in the lives of others.

Many of his brothers and sisters in blue fought back tears as speaker after speaker remembers Smiley for his character, his leadership, and his intelligence.

Smiley studied mechanical engineering at Savannah State. A Navy veteran, he had a brief stint as a commercial airline pilot, but ultimately ended up joining the Atlanta Police Department's air unit in October 2012.

In a similar somber scene on Friday, Officer Richard Halford was laid to rest. The 26-year veteran of the Atlanta police Department spent the final 16 of those years in the air unit.

View photos from Friday's funeral for Officer Halford

A trust fund for the officers' families has been set up. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank location in the individual officer's name.

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