SPRINGFIELD The Springfield Township Board of Trustees accepted the resignation of Police Chief John Smith during a special meeting on June 2.
Smith, 56, read his letter of resignation which was effective June 6. He cited that it is the right time in his life for him to step down after 27 years of service with the township's police department, including the last nine years as chief.
Smith expressed his deepest gratitude, "to have the opportunity to serve the fabulous residents of this community that I grew up in for over 27 years." Smith said. "Working closely with our community has been an honor for me, and I am truly a better person because of this community and my profession."
He has been a part of the Springfield the community since fifth grade, is a Springfield High School graduate and said he would continue to support the department and the community in any way possible. Smith thanked the officers, police employees, township employees, law enforcement partners and citizens who have supported him and the department over the years.
He added a thank you to the Board of Trustees for their continued support of the department and himself.
"These partnerships and collaborations have been invaluable to the many accomplishments we have been able to achieve," he said.
Smith and the trustees have been meeting and discussing his resigning for several months. Trustee Dean Young made a motion to accept the resignation.
"You have been the chief since I have been on this board and I have enjoyed working with you," Young said, adding that there can be difficult relationships between department heads and trustees, but it has never been that way with Smith.
Young talked about some of Smith's involvements in community achievements including putting together a police contract to include police enforcement with Lakemore.
"You had a major role in putting that together and seeing that functioned properly," said Young, who also talked about Smith's role in establishing the auxiliary department. "That is something you talked about in advance and really advocated and I think that program has been a real positive program for the community.
"The people who attend our concerts and Rock the Docks Festival will know you commitment to the community as you have been a fixture at those events. I think I speak for my colleagues for the work that you have done as police chief. It is not a very easy job. When somebody says to me it is the right time to step down from a position I accept that," Young added.
In the interim, Capt. Ken Ray will be the commanding officer. Young said trustees appreciate Smith's willingness to be available to assist Ray.
Smith's law enforcement career began in Springfield in 1989 as he started as an unpaid reserve officer. He worked his way through the department as part time, full time, sergeant, captain and then chief. He was a part of the Summit County Drug Unit.