The flags outside Atlanta City Hall are lowered to half-staff in honor of the two fallen officers. Officers Richard Halstead and Shawn Smiley were doing what they loved Saturday night, serving the community, when their helicopter crashed.
"Over the coming days we're going to come together as a community," Mayor Kasim Reed said.
Reed, along with members of city council and the Atlanta police and fire departments remembered the officers.
"We're all hurting. We literally can feel it in the building and feel it in the eyes of the families who lost their loved ones," Reed said.
The two were in a helicopter aiding in the search for a missing 9-year-old boy when the chopper crashed. The boy was later found safe.
Deputy Chief Renee Propes said Halford was a 26-year veteran who had been flying for the department 16 years.
"He was our most senior pilot. He could of gone to day watch at any point but he enjoyed the evening time. He was very proficient at flying at night," Propes said.
"He was the type of officer that whenever you would see him he was neat, he was clean and he was always professional," Deputy Chief Shawn Jones said.
Smiley was newer to the department, joining Atlanta police in 2010.
"He was what we considered a rising talent within the police department. When he came to our police department, he came with a commercial pilots license so he was eager to get out and join the helicopter unit so he too could also serve the citizens of our city," Jones said.
Reed said he relayed a message to the families that the city is behind them and will support them during this tragedy.
"When you risk your lives for this city, and when you get up in the morning and go and put yourself in harm's way on our behalf, that you should never worry for a moment in the event that you don't make it home that the people you love most in the world are going to be supported by the city of Atlanta," Reed said.
One way the city is supporting the officers' families is by setting up a memorial fund in each of the officer's names at Wells Fargo.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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