Officers were friends and roommates
AMERICUS — Americus Police Officer Nick Smarr and Georgia Southwestern State University Police Officer Jody Smith, both of whom were shot and killed during a domestic call earlier this week, were not only together in the brotherhood of law enforcement, but were best friends.
Both young men, 25 and 26 years of age, were roommates with their other close friend, Jett Coptias, who recently graduated from Georgia State Patrol trooper school. The trio had been friends since high school.
Americus Police Chief Mark Scott said, “They are model officers. They are heroes in my opinion. They were there together. They were there together through it. Even after the shooting, they were together, throughout the whole ordeal. My heart goes out to their families. Our job now is to support them in any way we can …”
Smith came to the GSW Police Department in August of this year. Prior to joining the University force, Smith worked as a deputy sheriff with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office in addition to serving as a part-time officer with the Plains Police Department.
According to GSW, he was enthusiastic about joining the GSW Public Safety Department, as it offered him an opportunity to pursue a college degree and work in law enforcement at the same time.
Smith is a 2009 graduate of Americus-Sumter County High School, and graduated in 2012, from the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Tifton. He was known by his friendly personality and his love for the Atlanta Braves, according to a release from GSW. Smith’s mother is a deputy for the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.
South Georgia Technical College officials said the two officers were graduates or students of the South Georgia Technical College criminal justice program. Smarr earned his associate of applied science degree in criminal justice in June 2011. He became a certified law enforcement officer in 2012. Smith had attended South Georgia Tech in 2010, and had returned to finish his criminal justice degree this semester.
Shawn Cavender of Vienna attended Americus-Sumter County High School with Smarr and Smith, and graduated the same year. They were friends.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of Nick Smarr and Jody Smith,” Cavender said. “We were all 2009 graduates of Americus Sumter High School. Nick and Jody were two of the same it seemed and you would have thought that they were lifelong brothers. These two individuals were to say the least so full of life and had the most vibrant personalities. I feel so lucky to have graduated with two of the most amazing people that I knew. Going to high school was never a dull moment with these two gentlemen. Passing through the halls, having the same lunch, or same class with these guys would make anybody’s day that much better. Not a day would go by that there wasn’t a smile beaming from their faces. I’m definitely honored to have known both of these gentlemen growing up. These two pure souls will never be forgotten, and will surely be missed by so many.”
Lezley B. Anderson, Ed.D., principal of Sumter County Primary School, commented.
“Serving in such a small community, most of us in public service cross paths in one way or another at some point in time. Although I did not have a personal relationship with either of the fallen heroes, I serve members of Mr. Smarr’s family and I remember Mr. Smith from his time as a school resource officer. Some of my Super Teachers taught them.
“One of the things we teach our children at SCPS, or Superhero Headquarters as we affectionately call it, is that they are powerful and mighty; and they have control over their destiny. As the quote goes, ‘All the best heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary.’ These two ordinary people made themselves extraordinary — superheroes, really — doing what they probably considered to be ordinary work. To all of us at Superhero Headquarters, what we feel is that these two Superheroes were incredible, daring, courageous, amazing, powerful, mighty … extraordinary! We honor them and their legacies; and we say, ‘Thank You for Your Sacrifice.’”