Police Chief Announces Retirement

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — After nearly half a century of service, Springfield’s police chief is retiring.

Police Chief Jerry Smith says he’s thought about retirement for awhile and this seemed like the right time.

Chief Smith says over the last 43 years he’s seen a lot of changes. He says when he started, the department was lucky to have portable radios, and it only had four cars. It was a community of about 24,000 people, and of course there were no computers.

Chief Smith became chief in 1999 and says some of his biggest accomplishments include building and staffing the municipal jail and leading police work that pushed a significant drop in crime city-wide. He says he’ll miss his co-workers and the people in the community the most.

KEZI 9 News asked him what was one of the cases he will remember the most. He said, “the most significant death was the investigation of the shooting death of Thurston High School. That’s huge and would be huge in any community, so that’s something I will never forget.”

March 29 will be last official day on the job, and he seemed very excited about coaching baseball again. Chief Smith says he also will pursue some other things, but he wouldn’t elaborate what those were. He said it, however, wasn’t in law enforcement.

It’s unclear who will replace Chief Smith.

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