Officer Nick Smarr laid to rest
By BETH ALSTON
AMERICUS — Every seat was taken inside the Storm Dome on the campus of Georgia Southwestern State University Sunday afternoon as funeral services for Americus Police Officer Nicholas R. Smarr were held. A sea of law enforcement officers, ranging from sheriffs’ offices, police departments, other campus police departments, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia State Patrol, and others from across the state were seated on the main floor of the Dome, along with Smarr’s family. The bleacher seating area was filled with people only wanting to honor Smarr’s memory.
Smarr and Georgia Southwestern State University Police Officer Jody Smith were shot in the line of duty Wednesday morning as they responded to a domestic disturbance call. Smarr died while giving aid to Smith, who was his roommate and best friend. Smith, airlifted to a Macon trauma center where he underwent surgery, died Thursday afternoon.
Smarr’s family was escorted into the Dome by a bagpiper.
Kenneth Cutts, aide to U.S. Congressman Sanford Bishop, read a letter of condolence. Cutts said that Bishop will read a proclamation into the Congressional record on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday, honoring Smarr, Smith, and two Peace County Sheriff’s deputies were also slain in the line of duty recently.
Americus Police Chief Mark Scott expressed his sincere appreciation for the outpouring of support from the local community and beyond. He said he “couldn’t believe” the numbers of people who lined the streets Sunday morning when a hearse bore Smarr’s casket from Greg Hancock Funeral Chapel on Southland Road. The entourage, escorted by an Honor Guard of police, sheriff, Georgia State Patrol, fire department, campus safety, etc. traveled up Forsyth Street to Cotton Avenue, and back down Lamar Street to the Storm Dome. He said people were there to pay their respects to the fallen officer, some holding American flags, some weeping.
Scott, in his eulogy, related personal details of Nick Smarr, drawing some much appreciated laughter from his fellow officers, family and friends. He had wise words for “the brotherhood” as well.
Rick Smarr, a Cordele minister and uncle of Nick Smarr, preached on his nephew and how much the 25-year-old meant to his family and friends. He drew from scripture in a bible lesson that offered hope for a dark world. He urged change in our society, starting with each individual.
As the 90-minute service ended, Chief Scott asked law enforcement to walk with him to Oak Grove Cemetery, where Smarr was to be laid to rest.
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