Shawn A. Smiley
Officer Shawn A. Smiley
1972 – 2012
“This was a man on a mission. In my neighborhood, we’d say this say this is somebody who was a man on fire who had a spirit for people and a heart for service.”
–Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed
Senior Officer Richard Halford, a pilot for the Atlanta Police Department Air Unit, and Flight Tactical Officer Shawn Smiley were killed in a helicopter crash on November 3, 2012. They were flying low over an area west of downtown searching for a missing 9-year-old boy when their helicopter clipped the top of a utility pole, crashed to the ground, and burst into flames. The child was found safe a few hours later.
Officer Smiley was a U.S. Navy veteran and had been with the APD for two years. He loved to fly and briefly flew commercially for a subsidiary of American Airlines before going through the academy to become a police officer. He leaves behind his wife, Terra, and three young children, Elizabeth, William and Victoria.