Former sheriff deputy L.C. “Buckshot” Smith has worked in law enforcement for more than 56 years and is currently the oldest police officer in Arkansas. With his 92nd birthday approaching in May, Smith suggested that retirement isn’t on the horizon for him yet, saying he’ll retire “when the good lord says so.”
For 46 years, Smith served in several different roles at the sheriff’s department in his hometown of Camden, Arkansas.
In an article for Newsweek, Smith shared his remarkable story and said he grew up interested in a career in law enforcement because he loved the “excitement.” Even though he had worked his way up to the role of supervisor at a local furniture store, Smith said he felt his true calling was to join the force.
“I finished high school at 17 because I completed two grades in one year, and I’ve been working since I was 16 years old. For a long time, I was a supervisor at a Camden furniture store, working in the shipping department and I had five or six people working beneath me there. But I’d always wanted to be a police officer,” he recalled.
“L.C. “Buckshot” Smith has worked in law enforcement for more than 56 years,with his 92nd #birthday coming up in May.” #gerotwitter
— Old People Are Cool (@Oldplparecool) April 6, 2021
At 32, Smith was sworn in as the chief jailor after three weeks of training at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy. Since then, he’s worked in several roles including a jail administrator and a lieutenant.
“I try to be fair with everyone. I’ve taken more people home than I’ve taken to jail. For example; people who are drunk. My thing is that if you take a kid home to their parents, 90 percent of the time that will work and they will learn their lesson,” he said.
Throughout his career, the Camden native said he’s been successful as a leader because he leads by example and holds himself, and others, to high standards.
“It’s alright being a boss, but when you’re supervising you have to lead by example. I wouldn’t tell anybody to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself. But, I had a lot of people work for me and sometimes they didn’t want to do what I said and so, I had to fire them,” Smith said.
In 2012, Smith retired to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors. Nearly half a year later, Smith realized that retirement was “terrible,” and he wanted to get back to police work. When the department asked him to rejoin the force due to his wealth of wisdom, he said was excited to get back to “helping people.”
With decades of service to the community, Smith is a beloved figure throughout the town. He has been praised for his work at local festivals, in courtrooms and as a contributor to the neighborhood watch. According to CNN, Smith is one of the most popular members of the force, and department public relations representative Dana Weatherby expressed that community members often stop to speak with him when they cross paths.
Texann Shadden, a training coordinator at the department, shared with CNN that the 91-year-old is admired by many for his dedication. During a bad snowstorm, Shadden recalled the elderly man walking several blocks just to get to work when he couldn’t get his car out.
When the dedicated officer isn’t at work, he said he likes to attend church services three times a week and spend time with his lady friend, CNN reports.