As Springfield Police Chief Fred Armstrong prepares for his retirement, a successor has been named to take over.
Jim Smith, who has served locally for four years, will be the next Springfield police chief. Smith has been a detective on the Springfield Police Department assigned to the Kentucky State Police Drug Task Force, and will take over June 1 as Armstrong’s retirement becomes official.
“Jim is very knowledgeable and personable, and I think the citizens of this community will benefit tremendously with his education and experience,” Springfield Mayor Dr. John W. Cecconi said. “We look forward to his tenure here in Springfield as our chief.”
Smith said he is also looking forward to the new position. He comes with a great deal of experience. In addition to his four years with the Springfield force, Smith has 22 years of experience under his belt with the Mt. Washington, Ky., police department. Smith retired from the Mt. Washington force as assistant chief in 2007. He has a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement from the University of Louisville. Smith has also received certification from the Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond.
As he follows in Armstrong’s footsteps, he said he knows he has a lot to learn, but he also looks forward to the challenge.
“I look forward to working here in this great small town, and I think we should celebrate life in a small town. I want to continue the work done by Chief Armstrong. He’s like me; he’s very adamant about drug enforcement. He cares a lot about it, and so do I. Drugs influence most other crimes that occur, and a high percent of all crimes are somehow drug related,” Smith said.
In an effort to fight drugs, Smith will continue his duties as a drug officer. He said he will maintain a lot of the drug connections he has been working with, as well as taking more responsibility as chief.
Captain Paul O’Bryan, a veteran of the Springfield police force, will step up and assist with many duties as Smith works drug cases.
“Budgets are going to continue to be tight, as they are in all towns, and Capt. O’Bryan is going to step up to the plate and take on some additional responsibilities,” Smith said. “We’re going to work hard and provide 24/7 coverage for the people of Springfield. This is a good town, and I want to keep it a good town. We will keep law and order and treat everybody with respect and treat them the way we would all want to be treated.”
Smith said in addition to serving Springfield, he also looks forward to working with other law enforcement agencies, including the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Kentucky State Police.
“We’re all working together,” Smith added.
He’s only been working locally for four years, but Smith is no stranger to Washington County. He has family ties here, including his grandfather, Robert “Pops” Smith, and his father, Frank Smith, both who are from the Bear Wallow area of the county.
If the people of the city have concerns, Smith said he wants them to come to him and voice those concerns, and he will work to solve their issues.
“The mayor and chief (Armstrong) had enough confidence in me to give me the job, and I look forward to serving the people and doing it well,” he said. “If anybody needs anything, or wants to talk to me about anything, they can always call or stop by. I’ll be in and out a lot, but I will make time at some point to see them and talk with them if they have concerns.”