AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith died Wednesday around 4:15 a.m., according to Col. Eric Bryant, chief deputy at the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.
The cause of Smith’s death has not been released yet. However, WALB News 10 was told that Smith died of natural causes in Eastman.
Smith had been at a hospital there for a couple of weeks for physical therapy and then later got sick.
The final arrangements for Smith are still pending.
We were told he planned to retire after he finished his term at the end of this year.
“Sheriff Smith was a very caring and compassionate man. He loved law enforcement, he loved Sumter County and he’s going to be truly missed. The spirit of the office is acceptance, we accept what has happened but he will be truly missed. We are saddened of his passing.”
Bryant said Georgia sheriffs have to be appointed in the event a current sheriff passes away.
The Georgia Governor’s Office will now get that document from the probate office. We are told the governor’s office is likely to make the announcement on who will fill that role in the next 48 to 72 hours.
That person will be the interim sheriff until a new sheriff is elected in November and takes office on Jan. 1.