Oakboro police chief resigns

T.J. Smith served the town for nearly eight years, and plans to pursue new opportunities

Town of Oakboro Police Chief T.J. Smith

OAKBORO — Town of Oakboro Police Chief T.J. Smith announced on Monday afternoon that he has submitted his resignation and will serve his final day with the department on July 28.

Smith has been the town’s police chief since Aug. 1, 2016.

“When I had the privilege to become the Oakboro police chief almost eight years ago, I did so to build a sense of community among all the residents, to create genuine connections with everyone I encountered on the job, and to construct one of the most well-respected and effective police departments in the region. As I reflect on my time here, I feel confident that I have done so,” Smith said in a social media post.

Now pursuing new career opportunities, Smith stated that he decided to make a change professionally and to use his talents “to reach a different audience”

“I am grateful for the support, love, respect, and everlasting relationships the people of Oakboro and Stanly County have provided me,” Smith continued. “This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but after many prayers, conversations, and reflections, I know it is the path God has laid out for me.”

Smith extended his appreciation to his current and former officers that he has served with in Oakboro, crediting their hard work for the prosperity of the Oakboro Police Department.

He added that he and his family will stay in the local community and learn how to support it “in a different capacity.”

“The people of Oakboro have taught me invaluable and immeasurable lessons on what it means to truly serve others. It is my goal to transfer the knowledge and skills I have gained from my current position to a broader population,” Smith said. “Thank you for the opportunity to serve this town for nearly eight years as your police chief. I can never express how much this opportunity has meant to me and how special Oakboro and its citizens are to me.”

Prior to his seven-plus years with the Oakboro Police Department, Smith served for a year with the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office before beginning an eight-year stint as a member of the Locust Police Department; he also served on the Town of Oakboro Board of Commissioners for a year before joining the town’s police department.

Smith was the 2019 recipient of the Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service, an honor given to individuals and groups that make a significant contribution to their community through volunteer service. Later that same year, he was named Veteran of the Year through the Hometown Heroes recognition program.