Investigator Orlon Derrick Smith has served in law enforcement for over 20 years with 16 of those years spent serving the residents of Vicksburg and Warren County.
Vicksburg Daily News chose Smith for this edition of Those who keep us safe to recognize his contribution to the community.
Orlon Derrick Smith
During his time as an officer, Smith has served as a patrol officer and worked in Juvenile Investigations, Criminal Investigations and in Internal Affairs while simultaneously serving as the Vicksburg Police Department training coordinator.
Smith is a graduate of the Southern Regional Public Safety Institute Law Enforcement Training Academy, attended the FBI Mississippi Law Enforcement Command College and has achieved numerous certifications.
Smith is a certified investigator, certified field training officer, certified public information officer and certified firearm instructor. In addition to his many certifications, Smith has also obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration.
Currently, Smith is working on a Master’s Degree in leadership with a focus on public administration and expects to have it obtained within a year.
Smith grew up in the small town of Rolling Fork. As a small child, he always had his sights set on what he wanted to be.
“I always wanted to help people in the community and be a public servant. Police officers get to help people out of a lot of situations,” said Smith.
Inspired by the words of his father and grandfather, Smith took the leap into law enforcement in 2002.
“[My parents] always told me to always be kind to people, always love one another. If you want to do something, there’s no better way than to help people in the community,” said Smith.
In 2007, Smith decided to move to Vicksburg and plant his roots within the community. In April of that year, he joined the Vicksburg Police Department.
“I started in patrol, worked my way up, and got into Juvenile Investigations then Criminal Investigations,” said Smith. “Right now, I’m an investigator in the Internal Affairs Division and the training coordinator for the department.”
Among the hardest things about the job, to Smith, is seeing people incarcerated when it could have been avoided with a bit of compassion.
“I’ve seen both sides. People make mistakes that could have been avoided if they had someone to talk to. And that’s very difficult,” said Smith. “What happens to our children when the parents fall into the system of being incarcerated? There’s a child who doesn’t have a mother or father to lean on because they are incarcerated.”
Becoming part of the community
Smith said that connecting with the community has been essential in building relationships, especially among the youth.
“You see a lot of things going on in children’s lives and you just wonder how you can make things better for them.”
Trust has proven to be a valuable tool for Smith. Connecting with the kids and building that level of respect has helped him to solve a lot of juvenile cases within the community.
“When I was a juvenile investigator, I learned a lot from the kids,” said Smith. “One thing about kids, when they learn to trust you, they tend to open up to you more.”
Words of Wisdom
Smith said he tells new officers that building respect and trust in the community is essential to the job.
“I tell our young coming up officers to get out in the community, get out in the neighborhoods, get to know the people,” said Smith. “Especially in the areas you are patroling because you are going to need those people in the community to help you.”
For those looking to join law enforcement, Smith says to not let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.
“I would tell anybody [thinking of joining law enforcement] if that is the path you want to take, don’t let anyone stop you,” said Smith. “It is a very good profession to be in. You get to see a lot of things, you get to hear a lot of things and you get to talk to people. You get to grow, learn a lot of things and you get to help people.”
It is a career that has been rewarding for Investigator Orlon Derrick Smith and he shows no signs of stopping any time soon.
“I love serving the people of Vicksburg and Warren County, Mississippi,” said Smith.See a typo? Report it here.