Jerry Smith to retire as Springfield police chief

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Jerry Smith joined the Springfield Police Department in 1973. Since 1999, he has served as chief, leading a department that successfully persuaded voters to build and fund a municipal jail to help combat crime.

Smith plans to retire effective may 1, 2013, the City of Springfield said Tuesday.

"It is my conviction that there is no greater community to have served, nor finer, caring individuals with whom I have had the privilege to work beside," Smith said. "It is now time for a new chapter in my life and a new chapter for the police department."

The Springfield Police Department has an annual budget of $19 million, with a staff of 118, including 81 officers.

The city plans to launch a search for a new chief. But first, city officials took the opportunity to laud the veteran police officer.

"Jerry is a visionary leader who has had a dramatic positive impact on the lives of those in our community," City Manager Gino Grimaldi said. "A tireless worker, he placed the needs of our community in front of his own. He will be greatly missed, but he has earned an opportunity to spend more time with his family."

"Jerry worked hard to build relationships with members of our community and we have all benefited from his dedication," said Springfield Mayor Christine Lundberg.

Smith is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He holds both bachelor and master degrees from the University of Oregon as well as an associate degree from Lane Community College. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.