LOCUST – Locust police Chief Steven R. “Smitty” Smith died Tuesday, July 21, at Atrium Health Cabarrus in Concord.
The city of Locust released a statement. City Administrator Cesar Correa and Mayor Steve Huber gave a brief joint statement to the Independent Tribune in addition to the news release:
"The city of Locust mourns the sudden passing of a great man. Chief Smith was a genuinely kind individual that touched the life of every person he met. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”
The Locust Police Department has set up a tribute to the chief at the Locust Government Center. A memorial with Chief Smith's patrol vehicle has been set up at the center. The department stated that anyone who would like to pay their respects or provide thoughts, prayers and well -wishes can visit the memorial at 186 Ray Kennedy Drive.
His funeral service will be held 11 am Saturday, July 25, at Locust First Baptist Church, with the Rev. Tommy Ross, the Rev. Eddie Barbee and acting Chief Jeff Shew presiding. Burial will follow at the church cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Friday at Stanly Funeral and Cremation Care of Locust.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Melissa Smith: Riley & Hunter College Fund at any State Employees Credit Union or mailed to Locust Police Department, P.O. Box 190, Locust, NC 28097.
The Police Department also released a statement on its Facebook page today. It can be read bellow:
"It is with the utmost tremendous sadness that the Locust Police Department must officially announce the passing of our Chief of Police, Steven R. 'Smitty' Smith. Chief Smith passed away last evening at Atrium Health Cabarrus in Concord. Chief Smith was off duty at the time of his death. He was 45 years old.
"Chief Smith was a Locust native who began his career with the Locust Police Department before working tours with the Monroe and Kannapolis police departments. He returned to the Locust Police Department in 2007 as a patrol officer. Chief Smith was promoted to the ranks of sergeant and captain at the department before being appointed chief of police at the end of December 2019. Chief Smith succeeded retiring Locust Chief Frank Hartsell, who along with every member of the Locust Police Department endorsed “Smitty” for the position.
"Chief Smith was an outstanding decision maker and leader who held an extraordinary vision for the future of the Locust Police Department. In just six months as Chief of Police, 'Smitty' had been consistently praised for his performance by the members of the Locust Police Department, Locust city administration as well as the elected members of the City Council of Locust.
"Chief Smith was an 'officer’s chief,' who was able to combine the perfect mixture of leadership with camaraderie. One of the ideals Chief Smith leaned heavily on was knowing that the patrol division is the heart and soul of a police department, and he knew that the department’s success and how the department would be viewed by the public was dependent on the effectiveness of its patrol officers. Chief Smith’s goal was to develop or enhance the most well-equipped, well-trained, community-driven patrol officers possible, and every single member of the Locust Police Department responded so positively to that leadership.
“'Smitty' was adored by his peers in Stanly and surrounding counties' law enforcement community as well as by so many members of the Locust community that had known him his entire life. 'Smitty' was always a pleasure to be around and one of the most humorous storytellers you would ever meet. Chief always seemed to have the perfect 'one-liner' for any occasion. All of the members of the Locust Police Department will miss him so much.
"In the coming days and weeks, we ask you to please keep Chief Smith’s wife, children, family and friends as well as the members of the Locust Police Department in your thoughts and prayers."
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