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Hero Down: Fort Valley PD Assistant Chief Major Jerrell Smith Dies Unexpectedly

Fort Valley, GA – Fort Valley Police Department (FVPD) Assistant Chief Major Jerrell Smith died unexpectedly on Jan. 12, according to his department.

The major’s exact cause of death has not been released.

Maj. Smith, a Vidalia native, moved to Fort Valley in 1990 to attend Fort Valley State University, the FVPD said in a media release on Jan. 13.

He later earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, the department said in an earlier Facebook post.

Maj. Smith began working for the City of Fort Valley as a radio operator in 1994 and went on to serve the local community in a variety of positions.

He became a FVPD traffic enforcement officer in 1996.

He soared through the ranks over the decades that followed, and was ultimately promoted to the position of assistant chief and major on January 29, 2021, the FVPD said.

Maj. Smith was a highly-decorated officer who was chosen as Officer of the Year in 2008.

“Major/Assistant Chief Jerrell Smith will definitely be missed. Such an awesome person and loyal to the community he served so well,” one person wrote in response to the FVPD’s announcement. “My thoughts and prayers go out to family, friends and FVDPS family.”

“He always met you with a smile. He will be missed for sure,” another post read. “Prayers for his family both blood and blue.”

Maj. Smith came from a law enforcement family and was the son of a retired 32-year veteran of the Toombs County Sheriff’s Office.

“The [loss] of Major Smith is a huge [loss] to not only us but the law enforcement community in Middle Georgia,” FVPD Captain Parrish Strickland said. “Saying we will miss him is an understatement. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Fort Valley Police Department Assistant Chief Major Jerrell Smith, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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