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Retiring Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith described as 'cop's cop'

August 29, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Retiring Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith, seen in this March 21 file photo, was recognized at Tuesday's city council meeting for his service.
File photo

HAGERSTOWN — Retiring Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith was honored for his service to the city during a Hagerstown City Council meeting Tuesday night.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II, who read a proclamation honoring Smith, talked about when Smith was interviewed for the job.

Bruchey said “hands down,” it was obvious Smith was the best person for the job.

Describing Smith as a “cop’s cop,” Bruchey reviewed Smith’s accomplishments, like his work on a street-crimes unit, a central booking unit and countering domestic violence.

When the city was facing financial constraints, Smith “bit the bullet” and dealt with the situation rather than complaining, Bruchey said.

“I felt welcome from the day I came here,” said Smith, who stood beside Bruchey at the front of the council chambers while Bruchey read the proclamation.

Smith, who will retire Sept. 6, said he considered Hagerstown to be a special community.

“Like any place, its got problems, but there are solutions,” Smith said.

Before coming to Hagerstown in 1999, Smith served with the Baltimore Police Department, where he rose to the rank of major and retired after 26 years.

At the time of his appointment to police chief, Smith said he was aware of Hagerstown's continuing problem with an open-air drug market and considered suppressing it a challenge.

Smith said in March that the police department ramped up drug arrests when he arrived, but the problem persisted until 2001, when the city installed surveillance cameras where drugs were sold in the open.

The cameras did not eliminate drug dealing, but they helped close the open drug market, Smith said.

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