Monday marks 26 years since the murder of Albertville police detective Andrew Whitten.
On Jan. 25, 1995, Whitten died after being shot inside his own home. Since his death, the three suspects charged have spent years in jail.
WAAY 31 spent the day with the Albertville Police Department learning about Whitten's legacy and how it's carrying forward, even now.
"I still think of Andy. Not many days go by that I don't think about him," Assistant police chief J.T. Cartee said.
Everyone we talked with from Albertville police said right now, the memory of detective Andrew Whitten is still alive in their department.
Police Chief Jamie Smith said Whitten helped him when he was a young officer. Smith says even now, occasionally when a call comes in, they talk about how Whitten might've handled it.
"Always willing to help, always had a smile on his face, tried to take the time to teach the younger officers," Smith said.
Whitten helped put in place some of the building blocks to important parts of the Albertville Police Department. He was one of the first to start their K9 unit and pushed forward their forensics efforts.
"Always reaching for the stars, always wanting to do better," Cartee said.
Early in 2019, one of the suspects, James Matthew Hyde, was asking to change his sentence from life without parole, to life with parole. He was denied. Cartee was there, too, and said he let Hyde know he forgave him.
"That was hard to do. You should be able to forgive a person, but that person has accountability for his actions," Cartee said.
This year, the anniversary of Whitten's death comes after a deadly year to be in law enforcement. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 264 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2020. That's a jump from 135 in 2019. More than half of 2020 deaths were coronavirus-related.