A 93-year-old police officer from Camden, Arkansas, known as the oldest officer in the state, is retiring after almost 65 years of serving in law enforcement.
L.C. “Buckshot” Smith has worked a variety of jobs in his lifetime, including furniture sales, at a funeral home and at a service station.
But he found his passion for helping people at 30 years old and decided to become a police officer.
Asked why he made the transition to police work, Buckshot said “helping people. I saw a lot of things in my lifetime. I wanted to be a policeman.”
Buckshot began his long career with the Camden Police Department and eventually moved to the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office, where he retired at the age of 81.
However, he was asked to come back by the Camden police chief due to his vast knowledge, history and understanding of the community.
“They said I had too much knowledge, history and understanding to let it die,” Buckshot said.
Police Chief Boyd M. Woody, a man Buckshot first hired when he was a jail administrator decades ago, was the one to call him back.
Buckshot took on the department’s new position of neighborhood watch coordinator, where he could use his expertise to serve the community.
“Just roll around and talk to people. Make friends. I see a person out in their yard and I stop and talk to them. That’s what all police ought to do,” Buckshot expressed.
The veteran officer spent his final days on the job mentoring younger officers, and plans to spend his retirement fishing and hunting.
When asked by Camden Police Officer Johnathon Cooper why Buckshot decided to keep working after all that time, the veteran replied “I love it.”
As for his keys to longevity, Buckshot gave a few pointers: Eat a lot of vegetables and avoid eating too much fast food.
On the last full day of his career, Buckshot wanted to show the town and the people he’s protected for generations. He took reporters to Woods Place, a packed restaurant where many people congratulated him on his retirement.
“He loves people. He’s a great asset to the city of Camden,” Mayor Charlotte Young said.
Don Banks, a friend of Buckshot’s for a long time, said “I know for a fact Buckshot has taken more people home than he’s taken to jail.”
Buckshot always said he wouldn’t retire until the good lord took him or told him to retire. However, a few weeks ago, after a fall and an injury to his leg and hip a couple of years ago, he woke up and couldn’t walk. That’s when he made the decision to retire.
But Buckshot said he will miss police work.
“I helped a lot of people,” Buckshot said. “That means a lot. You’ve got to know the people.”