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Huntsville Police honor fallen officers

12 Huntsville police officers have been killed in the line of duty since 1883.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Huntsville Police Department recognized its 12 fallen officers at a special ceremony during National Police Week

The Huntsville Police Citizens Foundation, Mayor Tommy Battle, Huntsville City Council members, and U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Prim F. Escalona joined Chief Mark McMurray and Command Staff to honor the officers.

“Although no ceremony or memorial will ever ease the pain the survivors of these fallen officers feel, we hope this service fills their hearts knowing their hero will never be forgotten,” Chief McMurray said.

Leslie Freeman, wife of Fallen Officer Eric Freeman, spoke. "Your life has been turned upside down and you just feel alone, and so these memorials kind of help to embrace us and just say you know what, you're not alone. The department is a family and we're here."

 Eric Freeman died in the line of duty in December 2007. 

The pain of losing a fellow officer is raw. Officers said goodbye to Sheffield Police officer Sgt. Nick Risner on October 8. He died on October 2 from wounds sustained in a shootout on October 1.

Freeman's message to those grieving? 

"Lean on your department, lean on the men and women of your department. Lean on the men and women of that department. You're hurt. Yes, completely and I understand. But they're hurt also, they have lost a brother, and come together and lean on one another. The support is there."

Below: The 12 HPD officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

  • Officer William J. Street – End of Watch, Monday, Oct. 8, 1883
  • Officer Frank McKissack – End of Watch, Friday, May 26, 1916
  • Officer Ewell B. Starr – End of Watch, Saturday, Dec. 5, 1953
  • Officer Alan S. Logel, Jr. – End of Watch, Monday, Nov. 19, 1956
  • Officer Charles E. Drake, Jr. – End of Watch, Monday, July 23, 1962
  • Officer Preston R. Butler – End of Watch, Friday, June 3, 1966
  • Officer William T. Gaskin – End of Watch, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 1968
  • Officer Billy Fred Clardy, Jr. – End of Watch, Wednesday, May 3, 1978
  • Officer Daniel Howard Golden – End of Watch, Monday, Aug. 29, 2005
  • Officer William Eric Freeman – End of Watch, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007
  • Officer Keith O’Neal Earle – End of Watch, Monday, April 9, 2018
  • Agent Billy Fred Clardy III – End of Watch, Dec. 6, 2019

HPD’s Fallen Officer Memorial was built by the Huntsville Police Citizens Foundation a nonprofit funded by a diverse group of citizens and businesses in the community. The foundation provides immediate assistance to families of HPD officers during emergencies.

RELATED: Remembering fallen Sheffield Police officer Sgt. Nick Risner

RELATED: Man accused of shooting, killing Sheffield police Sgt. Nick Risner faces multiple charges, including capital murder