Editor’s Note: In upcoming editions of the US~Observer we will be featuring stories from the career of Red Smith. In our opinion, Red is one of the most ethical individuals to have ever worn a badge. Besides, he has some real good stories.
By Red Smith (Jackson County, Oregon) – I was working swing shift out of the Gold Hill Sub-Station, driving East bound on Highway 234 in Sam’s Valley when I observed a vehicle coming toward me. The vehicle appeared to be hopping up and down, which usually indicates a very fast moving vehicle. When it was nearer to my patrol car, the moving radar started beeping, locked and indicated a speed of 97mph. I unlocked the radar to get a second speed reading and again it locked on the same speed. The third time it locked on 99mph. I slowed and waited until the vehicle was near. I turned on my overhead warning lights and made my turn-around in preparation of stopping the vehicle. The operator pulled over and I stopped behind it. As I got out of my patrol car, the operator also got out. As he walked back to me, I recognized him as a local defense attorney. He began to speak telling me, “The only reason I was going that fast is I had read in the newspaper there was not going to be any cops on the roads due to all the layoffs.” I turned his ticket over and after writing (unsolicited statement of citizen violator on the back) I wrote down his statement verbatim. He asked me, “Are you writing down what I said?” I responded, “Yes,” completed the ticket, thanked him for his time, suggested he slow down and drive safely and served him with the ticket.
The following day I had the opportunity to contact the Justice Court Judge on another case. On contact, the Justice of the Peace told me a story. He told me, “I was in my office yesterday when an attorney came in and threw his speeding ticket you wrote him on my desk and asked, ‘did you see what that red headed SOB did?’” The judge picked up the ticket, read it and leaned his chair back and tapped on the bulletin board behind him saying, “Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger, he got me, too.”
About the Author: My name is William Holden Smith, but most people know me as Red Smith. That’s easier for people to remember, especially the young people. I’m married to a beautiful woman who was also a deputy sheriff, and I have three adult daughters and three adult stepsons. I’m proud of them all.
I graduated high school; also completed some college courses; if I had a degree, it would be in dealing with people. I think communication is the most important tool any person can have and especially a police officer. I’ve worked ranching, farming, manufacturing, construction, heavy equipment, drove truck and school bus. I’ve also worked as a Fire Fighter and Emergency Medical Technician, as well as a Cop. I’m retired from the Sheriff’s Office after being a reserve for years and then twenty-eight years full-time. In retirement, I drove armored truck, worked for three different Municipal Police Departments and a Constable’s Office. Now I’m trying the retirement thing again. Fair warning though, I like to stay busy.