Smith named West Jefferson police chief

Brandon Smith is the new chief of the West Jefferson Police Department. He took the oath of office on Jan. 2.

(Posted Jan. 9, 2023)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The village of West Jefferson has hired a new police chief from within its ranks. On Jan. 2, Mayor Ray Martin administered the oath of office to Brandon Smith who has been with the police department for nearly 20 years. Smith replaces Christopher Floyd who retired as chief on Dec. 14.

“Brandon was the perfect candidate. He has worked long at it, he’s good at it, and he’s well trained,” Martin said, adding that Smith has a good working relationship with his fellow officers and the public.

Smith got his start with the West Jefferson Police Department in 2004 as an auxiliary officer, volunteering his services. After completing the Police Academy, he was hired as a full-time officer in 2007. He then spent five years assigned to road duty before being named a detective with the department’s investigative bureau and working on the Madison County Major Crimes Unit.

“It was during that time that I realized the need for a K9 unit in the area,” Smith said. “West Jefferson had never had a K9 unit, so I looked into what was needed to start one. I presented to council and told them I wanted to be the handler. Ultimately, it led to the start of the village’s first K9 unit in July 2013.”

During his time with the K9 unit, Smith received a promotion to sergeant. Later, an increase in the crime rate led to his reassignment to the detective bureau. As a detective, he investigated everything from low-level theft to a quadruple homicide. He was promoted to lieutenant in April 2023.

Smith has been called upon several times in his career to serve as acting or interim chief for chiefs on vacation, on leave, or leaving for retirement. His longest stint covering a chief’s position, a year, was during Floyd’s medical leave last year. Smith said he has interviewed for the position of chief several times. He said he is glad to finally secure the job.

“Wanting to see the agency move forward and continue to grow, especially as the village is growing, I wanted to be a part of that,” Smith said.

To be prepared for what comes with growth, he said the keys for him personally and for his staff are training, communication, and teamwork. He is set to take leadership courses through the Ohio Chiefs of Police Association and plans to register for additional courses through the FBI Academy. He also is making sure his staff is up-to-date on training.

“Being prepared is one of the most important things you can be as a police officer. That’s no different as you go up the chain of leadership. I found a true desire to be there for the village in that aspect,” he said.

Smith’s immediate focus is on staffing. The department has approximately 17 officers. He is looking to hire two more. The department also has nine dispatchers.

“Long-term, I’m truly focused on making this one of the best police agencies to work at. A lot of that comes with great communication and teamwork,” he said. “Our teamwork really showed itself this past year. We’re on the right track. We’re all excited about it.”

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