Oakboro police chief resigns

Published 3:26 pm Monday, July 1, 2024

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Per a Facebook post today, Oakboro Police Chief T.J. Smith has tendered his resignation from the department.

Smith said his last day on the job for the town will be July 28.

“When I had the privilege to become the Oakboro Police Chief almost eight years ago, I did so to build a sense of community among all the residents, to create genuine connections with everyone I encountered on the job and to construct one of the most well-respected and effective police departments in the region. As I reflect on my time here, I feel confident that I have done so,” Smith said in his statement.

“The time has come that I have asked myself what is next for me professionally, and at this point, that is to use my talents to reach a different audience. With that goal, I have made the decision to step away as Oakboro Police Chief to pursue new opportunities.

“The people of Oakboro have taught me invaluable and immeasurable lessons on what it means to truly serve others.  It is my goal to transfer the knowledge and skills I have gained from my current position to a broader population.

“I am grateful for the support, love, respect and everlasting relationships the people of Oakboro and Stanly County have provided me. This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but after many prayers, conversations, and reflections, I know it is the path God has laid out for me.

“I would also like to express my gratitude to all of my fellow officers past and present with whom I have served in Oakboro. Your hard work, dedication and commitment to serve this community made the Oakboro Police Department what it is today.

“Rest assured, my family and I aren’t going anywhere. We are committed to remain involved in all aspects in our community and will be for many years to come. We will continue to love, serve, and support our community, as we always have, just in a different capacity.

“Thank you for the opportunity to serve this town for nearly eight years as your police chief. I can never express how much this opportunity has meant to me and how special Oakboro and its citizens are to me. ”

Oakboro Mayor Chris Huneycutt said Smith has chosen to “try an opportunity with Charlotte,” referring to the Charlotte Mecklenberg Police Department.

“He’s really given this a lot of careful thought in making the decision, where God has led him to go,” Huneycutt said. “He has made this choice and is going out on good terms with the board and the town.”

The mayor added Smith has “done things right here…sometimes in situations like people leaving jobs, it can be strained somewhat, but that is not the case here. It’s all good.”

Town Commissioner Lanny Hathcock, who serves as Oakboro’s police commissioner, said Smith “will be missed.” He added he was sure there were “more opportunities there than in a small town,” and, in his opinion, he has been the best police chief the town has ever had.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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