Franklin Twp. officer awarded for valor
The American Legion Don Gentile Post 532 hosted their annual Law Enforcement Community Service Awards Banquet June 4.
According to Law & Order Chairman Jerry Bryan, these awards banquets began in 1981 as a community service project. However, soon they became quite popular – attracting law enforcement from near and far.
Seventeen awards were handed out to members of local police and fire departments, including Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Med Flight, Grove City Police, and Franklin Township.
“Without you it could be a rough world, and I applaud you for what you do today,” Ohio American Legion Commander Dennis Clausing said to the audience.
According to Bryan, he begins organizing each year’s ceremony months in advance, and it formerly used to be scheduled around Law Enforcement Week – but scheduling conflicts proved difficult.
Award winners are nominated by supervising officers or administrators, and many times highlight individuals who have demonstrated a strong constitution, bravery on duty, professionalism and self-sacrifice.
Many of these men and women have incredible stories – like Franklin Township Police Officer Byron Smith, who put his life on the line for his community.
Smith was recognized for his actions on March 6, 2010 when he responded to a felony in progress at a clothing store on West Broad Street. The suspect, a repeat offender, fled after ingesting a stash of drugs, a chase ensued with the suspect eventually crashing into a car.
According to reports, the attacker then exited his car and charged Smith’s cruiser, where Smith attempted to subdue the suspect with a taser – to no effect.
When the attacker pulled a gun, Smith shot the suspect. The suspect continued to resist even as Smith attempted to assist him while help came.
A grand jury investigation found Smith as having acted perfectly as he should.
“I believe that Officer Byron Smith should be recognized for his deeds on that day. He displayed remarkable restraint and did his duty under trying circumstances. He deserves an award for his valor,” Franklin Township Police Chief Jim Timko said.
Bryan said he has a lot of respect and reverence for service members like Smith, who many times go unappreciated for the incredible bravery they display in order to secure the neighborhoods.
“They certainly deserve any praise we can give them,” Bryan said.