MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Law enforcement members are known for putting on a strong front, but it was difficult for them to hold back the tears Monday morning.
Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack of Baldwin County had tears streaming down his face as he described his friend and colleague as an honorable man.
“John really epitomized what it means to be a sheriff,” said Mack.
More than two thousand people showed up to Sheriff John ‘Big John’ Williams’ funeral at the Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery. The crowds were also painted with blue, yellow, and white colors as hundreds of law enforcement officers wore their uniforms and paid their respects.
These law enforcement members came from across the state and the United States including Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Warren County Sheriff Brett Hightower from Kentucky attended the funeral and said he knows what it’s like to lose an officer.
“Knowing that and the history of that, when this event occurred, we wanted to come down and support Alabama and this family and his Sheriff’s office," Hightower said.
Hightower did not know Williams personally, but other officers shared their personal stories.
“So I was able to talk with Big John before I became sheriff. He told me to take care of the guys and to do what’s right," said Jefferson County Sheriff Mark Pettway.
Their words were filled with love and respect for Williams.
“Big John is like being a big brother to me," Pettway said.
Williams left a legacy that other officers hope to follow.
“I mean you just can’t find a better sheriff than Big John," said Coosada Police Chief Leon Smith.
“He got the name Big John for being so tall, but over time it’s because he has such a big heart,” Mack said.