Fort Morgan, AL – Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) Deputy William “Bill” Smith died in the line of duty on June 6 while rescuing two swimmers from the Gulf of Mexico.
Deputy Smith, 57, and fellow BCSO Deputy Sydney Wentworth were patrolling Fort Morgan beach when they spotted two distressed swimmers out in the water, Baldwin County Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack told WALA.
They immediately ran out into the water to rescue them.
Everyone but Deputy Smith made it back to shore.
“The fact that Bill was there, that Sydney was there, as quick as what they were is why we have two of the victims that are alive today,” Sheriff Mack told WALA.
The rescued swimmers and Deputy Wentworth were transported to the hospital, and Deputy Wentworth was released on Monday morning, WALA reported.
Deputy Smith was transported to a nearby medical facility, where he was pronounced dead, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
“Deputy Smith’s brave and swift response to save the life of another should cause us all to pause and reflect upon the sacrifice of all law enforcement,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall told ABC News.
“We can never repay Deputy Smith for putting the life of a potential victim ahead of his own,” Marshall continued. “Tonight, we offer our prayers to Deputy Smith’s family and his friends and colleagues in the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office.”
Deputy Smith’s body was escorted from Robertsdale to Mobile by a police procession on Tuesday morning.
He served the BCSO for seven years, and had previously spent five years as a member of the SWAT team in Calhoun County, WALA reported.
Prior to his career in law enforcement, Deputy Smith served more than 30 years as a firefighter, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
He retired as deputy chief of the DeKalb County Fire Rescue in 2011, WAGA reported.
DeKalb County Fire Chief Darnell Fullum said Deputy Smith will be “fondly remembered in our department for his passion and dedication to the fire service and the resolute protection he gave to the citizens of DeKalb County.”
Deputy Smith leaves behind his wife and two adult sons, WALA reported.
Our prayers and thoughts go out to the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office and the family and friends of Deputy Bill Smith. Deputy Smith passed away while rescuing a swimmer in distress on Fort Morgan Road. pic.twitter.com/CvAlPF8dbQ
— Jeff Co Sheriff (@JeffCoSheriff) June 8, 2021
My heart is broken tonight. Our thoughts and prayers are with the brave men and women of the BCSO and the family of heroes like Deputy Bill Smith who put their lives on the line every day to protect Baldwin County citizens and our visitors. pic.twitter.com/RX6AZTKekI
— Senator Chris Elliott (@SenatorElliott) June 7, 2021
As the Nation mourns the loss of Deputy Bill Smith of the Baldwin Co Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Smith died attempting to rescue swimmers at Ft Morgan. Deputy Sydney Wentworth was released from the hospital. Our prayers are with you and your families. #Heroes pic.twitter.com/BGgjEkmyLX
— Bill Partridge (@ChiefBPartridge) June 7, 2021
Tonight, we have lost a brave Deputy in the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office and another is in the hospital after an accident while trying to rescue swimmers in distress. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and the entire Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office. pic.twitter.com/p1c1ncLAaU
— Attorney General Steve Marshall (@AGSteveMarshall) June 7, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Deputy William “Bill” Smith, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.