Working with students was first mentioned with Troy Police Officer Charlie Smith was asked about what he will remember most as he eases into retirement as a law enforcement officer.
Smith’s last day as a full-time police officer with the Troy Police Department was Sept. 10. He will continue to serve as a D.A.R.E. officer and as a bailiff in the municipal court as well as his commission.
Smith, a native of Louisiana, Mo., began his career in law enforcement in April, 1974, when he joined the Louisiana Police Department. He continued to serve that agency for 13 years when he accepted a job in January, 1988, with the Pike County Sheriff’s Department. In 1989, he joined the Bowling Green Police Department and worked for them until he accepted an offer from then Troy City Marshal Wm. J. Hopkins to come south and work here in Troy. He has served as a patrol officer for Troy throughout the years with added responsibilities including helping to establish the D.A.R.E. program for the Troy PD.
“When I was working for Chief Jack Floyd in Bowling Green, he asked me if I would be interested in becoming a D.A.R.E instructor,” said Smith. “I and Chief Floyd didn’t know much about this new program but I told him I would try it.”
So, Smith attended a two-week course at the Highway Patrol headquarters in Jefferson City. After certification, he began teaching it one day a week in the Frankford and Curryville schools in Pike County.
With the support of Chief Hopkins, Smith began the D.A.R.E. program with area fifth graders. He along with former county deputy J.R. Copeland, took the program into the fifth grade at Lincoln County schools. They continued this until the program became under the supervision of Sheriff Dan Torres. Smith has continuously taught the program at Sacred Heart School during his tenure as police officer. The dedication which Smith held for this anti-abuse program earned both the attention and respect from the Highway Patrol and that state agency asked him to join their training team in 1999. He was awarded the D.A.R.E. Officer of they Year award in 1998.
“They sent an officer from their evaluation team to watch me during an instruction period,” said Smith. “I remember it was in Diana Gough’s classroom. She had the students really prepared. That officer continued to write down in his notebook while I was instructing. It made me nervous but he commended me after the students were dismissed.”
In 2012, Smith was presented with the D.A.R.E. Lifetime Achievement Award.
His concern and work in teaching young people not to use drugs have also been recognized statewide through the Elks Lodge. He has served as the chair of the local Elks Lodge’s drug awareness program and, as he begins retirement, he has been asked to be the state chairman of the his effort. He will be working with 75 other Elk lodges where students will participate in essay and poster contests. “The kids will be able to advance from local to national competition with the top entries selected for inclusion into an Elks coloring book,” he said.
Smith has been an Elk since in joined the lodge in Louisiana in 1972 and is a charter member of the Troy Elks Lodge where he has served in many offices including Exalted Ruler.
His retirement plans include hunting, fishing and putting is 1952 Ford 8N tractor to use at a farm in rural Pike County. They also include a bit of traveling and spending time with his wife, Margaret.
“Being a police officer means a lot of sacrifice and time away from family,” Smith said adding he was looking forward to being with his wife more often than perhaps in the best.
“We will continue to live in this community where we have met some of the nicest people,” said Smith. “I have enjoyed teaching some of the greatest students who have gone on in becoming such solid citizens. I don’t want to name individuals for fear of leaving someone out. It is so neat to watch them grow from 10 and 11 year olds into what they are today.”