SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — After 43 years of service with the Springfield Police Department, the police chief has decided it’s time to retire.
Jerry Smith has had quite an impact on the city with more than four decades of dedication. City leaders say Smith was the main catalyst for the Springfield Municipal Jail project and that the building is a true testament to the character of a man they will truly miss.
City leaders say although he’ll be gone, his legacy will live on.
“I think the most significant thing that Jerry’s worked on is the jail that has had a tremendous impact on the community in terms of improving our downtown and overall safety. That has to be the hallmark of his career,” said Gino Grimaldi, Springfield City Manager.
City leaders say the progress made in changing downtown’s image can be largely attributed to his commitment to the project from the very beginning.
While the jail is definitely a large symbol of his dedication, for the chief the most memorable moment goes back just before he took over the department.
“The Thurston High School shooting was the most significant, traumatic and devastating event in our community. The event and its investigation was such that it foreshadows everything,” said Smith.
Those who know Smith say it will be impossible for anyone to try to fill his shoes.
“They can’t be filled. We’ll work hard to find who we want in terms of the next chief and we’ll fill that profile, but you can’t replace Jerry Smith,” Grimaldi said.
Smith says he hasn’t taken a real vacation in more than 20 years. So many wonder what he will do with all his new found free time. Someone suggested a nationwide baseball tour, but Smith says while that’s unlikely, he definitely sees baseball in his future.