The Roswell Police Department and city officials welcomed its new deputy chief, Philip A. Smith Jr., who arrived from New Hampshire earlier this week. The ceremony was held on Friday morning at the police station.
Mayor Del Jurney, City Manager Larry Fry, District Attorney Janetta Hicks and members of her staff and Chaves County Sheriff Rob Coon were among the list of dignitaries who attended the swearing-in ceremony.
Smith was selected in August to take the newly created post. Smith has 25 years of experience with law enforcement, starting as a patrol officer in Salem, N.H. He worked his way up from police lieutenant to patrol shift commander. In 2007, Smith became chief of police in Alton, N.H. Smith became the town administrator for the town of Atkinson, N.H., in 2009.
Police Chief Al Solis spoke briefly of Smith’s education during his introduction and quipped, “I may have to buy a dictionary just to converse with him.”
Smith received a bachelor’s degree from Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, N.J., and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is currently working on a doctorate in executive leadership.
Judge Eugene De Los Santos administered the oath of office.
District Attorney Janetta Hicks offered some advice. “I was born and raised here in Roswell. It’s a great place to raise a family. … In fact, we are one big family here in Roswell. It’s something you need to know. Everybody is related to everybody. Everybody is somebody’s uncle or somebody’s cousin.”
Jurney welcomed the new deputy chief to Roswell, saying, “This city is a great community, and I think you will find that the police are a dedicated group of officers.”
De Los Santos added his voice to that of the mayor, “I will say that we live in the greatest city in the state … and we have the best police department in the state.”
On his own behalf, Smith spoke with modesty and simplicity. His speech was a single sentence: “I will try to do my best to be fair and consistent.”
After the ceremony, Fry said that he felt Smith’s previous experience as town administrator would be a plus for the city.
Privately Solis commented, “I’m glad to have him on staff. Being from the east, he brings a different perspective to the police department. I think I can learn from him, and he can learn from me too.”
Sheriff Rob Coon noted his approval of the chief’s choice. “He (Smith) seems pretty squared away, and I think he’ll be a great addition to the department.”
Marshall Decker, Hagerman resident and long-time friend of Smith’s, beamed with pride. “I was the one who got him here.
He came to visit me this summer, and I think the community will be pleased with him.”
As the group began to disperse, Smith told the Daily Record, “I was here last year on vacation with my family and we just fell in love with the place. It seemed the right time and the right place to make a change, and I want to thank the city of Roswell for presenting me with this opportunity.”