GSW officer saluted in death - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

GSW officer saluted in death

Jody Smith funeral (Source: WALB) Jody Smith funeral (Source: WALB)
Jody Smith (Source: GSW) Jody Smith (Source: GSW)
Sonya Thompson (Source: WALB) Sonya Thompson (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
Jennifer Pritchard  (Source: WALB) Jennifer Pritchard (Source: WALB)
AMERICUS, GA (WALB) -

After a week of emotional tributes and heartfelt memorials, Officer Jody Smith was laid to rest Wednesday.

The Georgia Southwestern campus was filled with thousands of family, friends and police officers throughout the state to pay tribute to Officer Jody Smith. 

Following the services, a horse-drawn caisson carried Smith's body across this very campus that he worked to protect for the past few months.

As his body was carried, the community watched in silence. Many local businesses closed their doors and made their way to the campus.

Employees say it's important that the Smith family and the law enforcement community know that this community will continue to support them.

"We as a community felt that it was very important that we all come out and show our respect for both of these fallen heroes. It's a tragedy that it's happened in this community, and we feel that it's important that everyone know that this community backs the blue 100 percent," said Sonya Thompson.

Stars and Stripes blew in the wind as family, friends and law enforcement officials from all over the country gathered for the funeral service of a fallen hero.

Following the service in Georgia Southwestern State University's Storm Dome, a horse-drawn caisson carried Smith's body around the very campus he once patrolled as community members watched in silence.

Although there was a dense cloud of sorrow and heavy hearts, there too was a glimpse of pride in the community.

"I'm very proud that Americus has chosen to show love instead of hate in this situation," said Sonya Thompson. Her office closed for part of the day so that all employees could show their support to the Smith family. "They need it now and they will need it in the weeks to come."

As Jennifer Pritchard watched, all she could think about were the two young officers she had served coffee to almost every day. 

"They were good cops. You hear all the time there are crooked cops, but not them two," said Pritchard.

Pritchard said she knows Smith's mother, a sergeant in Sumter County. When Pritchard lost her son just a few months ago, Smith's mother was there for support.

"Three months ago she told me she couldn't imagine what I was going through," explained Pritchard. "Now, she knows and she doesn't deserve this. Nobody deserves this."

As the caisson made its way to the front of the campus, Smith's body was carried into the hearse, that would drive him through the city to his final place of rest.

Copyright 2016 WALB. All rights reserved.   

Powered by Frankly