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Slain TX Rookie's Career Choice Made In Sixth Grade

Slain TX Rookie's Career Choice Made In Sixth Grade

Dallas Morning News via YellowBrix

December 30, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX – An ever-present smile, eternally optimistic, easygoing. Hardworking and humble.

Jillian Michelle Smith, a police officer for less than a year, was remembered by fellow Arlington officers and friends as a rookie who never stopped showing her excitement over a dream accomplished. She wanted to be a police officer ever since the sixth grade.

“The one thing that cannot come out of my mind is her smile,” said Officer Matt Thorpe, one of Smith’s classmates at the Arlington Police Academy. “She had a glow about her that was unmistakable.”

She died Tuesday night in the line of duty, protecting an 11-year-old girl from what police said was the gunfire of her mother’s ex-boyfriend.

Smith, 24, was an Arlington native. She worshipped at Mount Olive Baptist Church and attended Arlington schools, graduating from Seguin High in 2005.

She first became interested in law enforcement in the sixth grade, when she participated in her school’s DARE program, where police officers work with students to teach them ways to resist peer pressure and avoid drugs and violence.

Arlington Police Chief Theron Bowman called Smith’s death a “great loss” and “great tragedy.”

“Since sixth grade, Jillian has purposefully made choices and decisions in her life that would allow her to accomplish her goal of becoming a police officer,” Bowman said.

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Barnes Samuel Nettles also fatally shot himself, police say.

Smith graduated from the Arlington Police Academy in August and had completed her field training just two weeks ago.

“She sometimes tried to hide how much all this meant to her,” said Officer Christin Matys, another academy classmate.

Friends also said she had a good sense of humor. Officer Brittani Winkler, who called Smith her closest friend from the academy, said Smith often wore brightly colored fingernail polish.

Smith said one time that if the polish were ever banned by the department, she wanted the rule to be made in her honor.

“One day I want to have that named after me,” Smith told Winkler in jest.

Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2009 with a criminology degree. She was a diligent student who was courteous and charismatic, said UTA criminology department chairman Alex del Carmen.

“Out of the roughly 600 students we have at the undergraduate level in our department, she was someone that stood out,” he said. He called her death devastating.

“She was interested in helping others,” del Carmen said, recounting their conversations. “She wanted to serve. She wanted to protect.”

Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck recalled meeting Smith during a police ceremony.

“You could tell she had just achieved what she had been working for, for a very long period of time,” he said. “She was indeed living her dream.”


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  • Sfa_iv_max50

    revCCBeasley

    over 3 years ago

    2944 Comments

    RIP

  • Images_max160_sq90_max50

    t1401hm

    over 3 years ago

    1754 Comments

    Rest in peace. Yet another officer.

  • Grad_08_044_max50

    depgomez

    over 3 years ago

    692 Comments

    Rest in Peace

  • Flowers_20_234__max50

    KarenLee

    over 3 years ago

    3856 Comments

    My sentiments exactly, Dewrah....Ofr Smith took her role as an LEO to the fullest..Truly an unselfish person...My prayers to Ofr Smith's family, department, and friends...RIP

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50

    Irishcop1961

    over 3 years ago

    50356 Comments

    Rest in Peace Officer Jillian Smith. Thank you for your service.

  • Dsc06068_max50

    Trikerider

    over 3 years ago

    10 Comments

    RIP Jillian

  • Justified_max50

    Dewrah

    over 3 years ago

    270 Comments

    It is officers like her that stand like torches in the night, watching over and protecting others from the evils that surround us. She took guard over the child and gave her life to defend her; a calling few understand and fewer take up. Rest in Peace Officer Smith, your death was not in vain.

  • Thinker_max50

    darsavmo

    over 3 years ago

    11354 Comments

    RIP and condolences to her family...

  • Thin_blue_line_max50

    ExplorerFL835

    over 3 years ago

    370 Comments

    R.I.P Officer Smith

  • K9-wallpaper_max50

    K9_91

    over 3 years ago

    19896 Comments

    RIP sister

  • Cimg4853hero_max50

    KWErwin

    over 3 years ago

    40 Comments

    This is so horrible. But she died with great honor, doing what she loved. She protected a child, and ended up paying the ultimate sacrifice. That is a true hero.

  • Afspa_life_member-back_max50

    keeneagle

    over 3 years ago

    42592 Comments

    When God sent His angels to bring you home, He had His reasons. Someday we will be able to ask why, but for now, we offer prayers of peace and comfort to those left behind. RIP Sister

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    over 3 years ago

    11190 Comments

    A low-down shame. Rest in peace, Officer Smith, you did great.

  • Dscn0533_max50

    BarbMarch58

    over 3 years ago

    114 Comments

    God Bless You, Officer Jillian Michelle Smith,

    "And He will raise you up on eagles' wings,
    bear you on the breath of dawn,
    make you to shine like the sun,
    and hold you in the palm of His hand."
    Lyrics by Michael Joncas

  • 100_0335_max50

    ucfknightsfan

    over 3 years ago

    118 Comments

    RIP, my sister

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