By Tommy Battle
Mayor of Huntsville
May 11 to May 16 is National Police Week*, a time when we pause to show our gratitude and appreciation to the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. (*Correction: Sun, May 14, 2023 – Sat, May 20, 2023)
This year, we recognize Police Week with exceptionally heavy hearts. Two Huntsville police officers, Garrett Crumby, 36, Albert Morin, 34, were shot on March 28 by a man who barricaded himself in his apartment following a shots fired call for help. Officer Crumby died, and Officer Morin is recovering in Huntsville Hospital from critical injuries.
As our community and Huntsville Police family work to heal from this tragedy, we take heart that a woman and two children are alive because of the courage of these two officers. Many other police officers and first responders also ran into harm’s way that fateful afternoon, trying to save their fallen colleagues and to reach the caller in need.
Such is the calling of our men and women in blue. They enter law enforcement with a passion for helping and protecting others. While officers readily acknowledge the risks and sacrifices involved in their chosen career, it is incumbent upon us to also recognize and appreciate these risks and sacrifices—for the officers and for their families.
It was just three years ago that Huntsville Police Agent Billy Clardy was shot and killed while participating in a narcotics operation with the Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force. Agents were attempting to take a suspect into custody when the man opened fire, killing Clardy.
Prior to that, Officer William Freeman was shot and killed when he and his partner responded to an automobile accident on Bailey Cove Road, near Weatherly Road, at about 8:45 pm. When officers arrived on the scene, they located one of the subjects sitting on a curb. When they attempted to arrest the man for DUI, he produced a handgun and shot Officer Freeman in the face.
Police officers routinely encounter people who are having the worst day of their lives. It may be the result of a traffic accident, theft or domestic violence. Or it may be to address a situation stemming from substance abuse, mental illness, homelessness and poverty.
Officers who wear the badge deserve our gratitude, respect and support. This Police Week, I encourage you to take the time to thank a police officer for their service and dedication. Show them how much you appreciate the work they do to keep Huntsville safe and secure.