Meridian Star

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April 6, 2013

Local law enforcement reacts to officer's death

MERIDIAN —     Local law enforcement officials had barely started to get back into their daily routines after bidding farewell to Enterprise Police Chief Randy Boykin two weeks ago when news broke Thursday of another one of their brotherhood being killed.

    Jackson Police Department Detective Eric Smith was shot to death by a homicide suspect inside the department's headquarters.

    According to the Clarion Ledger, Smith, 40, an 18-year veteran of the force, was shot and killed by the suspect, later identified by WAPT in Jackson as 23-year-old Jeremy Powell. Smith was interviewing Powell on the third floor of the department headquarters when the struggle reportedly occurred.

    Powell was thought to have been involved in the death of Christopher Alexander, whose body was found on the side of a road near Daniel Lake Boulevard early Monday morning, according to the Ledger. During the interview Powell wrestled Smith's weapon from him, reports state. Powell was shot and killed about 20 minutes later by another JPD officer.

    All day Friday, police departments posted their condolences on social media sites and showed their support for the men and women of the JPD during this trying time.

    Meridian Police Department Acting Chief James Sharpe said Friday morning this is a tragic incident which affects the entire law enforcement community.

    "Our heartfelt prayers, thoughts, and condolences go to the family and colleagues of fallen Detective Eric Smith," Sharpe said. "We here at the Meridian Police Department will reach out to the Jackson Police Department and offer any assistance we can provide."  

    Sharpe went on to say, "I’m sure the members of the Jackson Police Department are having a tough time emotionally right now."

    Sharpe said the death is another reminder of the dangers men and women of all law enforcement agencies face each time they step out of their homes.

    "Chief Boykin was directing school traffic, protecting the parents and children of Enterprise, when he was killed," said Sharpe. "Detective Smith was doing his duty in trying to bring a suspected murderer to justice when he died. We willingly face these and many other threats each and every day for the sake and safety of those we are sworn to protect."

    Sheriff Billy Sollie said his text messaging and FaceBook page was "blowing up" Thursday evening after the news of Smith's death began to ripple through the law enforcement community.

    "Of course we are here to help the JPD any way we can and I want them to know we are keeping everyone at the department and the family members of Eric Smith in our prayers," said Sollie. "Whenever an officer dies we have to deal with the personal and professional aspects of the loss. The fact this officer was killed in the line of duty, and the way he died, just makes the impact of the incident much more profound."

    Sollie admitted when he first began receiving information on the incident he felt anger more than immediate sorrow.

    "It just seems that with the evolution of technology, society has become so desensitized toward death that a life just doesn't hold the value it once did," Sollie said.

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