ROCKLAND — What’s the easiest way for a police officer to divert attention away from himself during a commendation ceremony in his honor? Announce his son’s current accomplishment.
Sgt. Kenneth Smith and his family received an additional thundering round of applause during the Monday, Aug. 12, Rockland City Council meeting, where Smith was recognized for 20 years of service as a Rockland police officer.
As Council members, Police Chief Chris Young, and Smith’s family gathered around Smith for a photo op, the mild-mannered man in blue randomly announced to the audience one half sentence:
“And yes, my son is a firefighter.”
To which, strong applause ensued....granted, half of the audience was made up of Rockland Fire/EMS members and their families who were also in attendance for their own ceremony recognition.
But, without father’s example, there would be no son’s continuation of community service.
To the police officers in attendance, and Smith in particular, Councilor Amelia Magjik said: “I don’t know that you take the time to recognize that your everyday affords some of us our lives.”
As an officer, Smith has endured his share of battle wounds in the form of kicks to the knees, lacerations, and Emergency Room visits. He’s pursued cases of structure fires that led to charges of arson. He’s tended to car accidents, supervised attempts to revive drug-overdose patients, chased criminals, and held mock sword fights with local children.
For 31 years, Smith has combined his licensed EMT training with his role as law enforcement, starting with his eight years of service as a medical specialist in the Maine Army National Guard.
He then worked for the Knox County Sheriff’s Department for about 2.5 years, and Rockport PD for just shy of a year, before coming to the Rockland Police Department in July 1999.
In 2004 he earned the rank of sergeant, and along the way has attended many supervisor trainings, and trainings in Hostage Negotiation, Harbor Patrol Officer, and Crash Reconstruction Investigator.
Smith worked closely with the Public Services Department in arranging detours for the major construction/road closure zones, as well as the repair and replacement of traffic control devices in the city.
“For 20 years, you’ve been doing work that requires you to deal mostly with people in some of their darkest and most challenging moments,” said Councilor Ben Dorr. “And that goes for all of you [police officers], whether you just joined the force of if you’ve been here for 20 years. You must all have very large hearts, and real dedication to your community and our community. Thank you so much for all of your service.”
Councilor Valli Geiger spoke of how a police officer arrives at her door regularly on Fridays to deliver the City Council packet. They are always friendly, despite often working really long hours.
For Smith, those many hours over 40 per week don’t conclude in sleep and lounging, but in working toward a paramedic license.
“Law Enforcement is a job one will either love or hate,” Smith said. “I have entered into the job and made it a career – a career that I have been doing for 23 years in total. I am still enjoying coming to work and providing a service to the citizens of Rockland. I am humbled by the continuing support the community has given me through my career.”
For at least another five years, he may be seen doing more of the same.
RESOLVE Commendation – Kenneth J. Smith
BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL AS FOLLOWS:
THAT Kenneth J. Smith is hereby commended and congratulated for 20 years of service to the City of Rockland as a member of the Rockland Police Department.
AND, be it further Resolved that a Plaque and a Certificate of Commendation be presented to Sgt. Smith as a token of the City's appreciation for his years of service to the Community.
Reach Sarah Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org