#PrepareAtPeace | Robert Smith ’17, SPS

Jan 1, 1970

Knowing What YOU Want isn’t a Crime

By Valeska Redmond, Ph.D., Director of Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives

Robert Smith ’17, B.S. Criminal Justice

Robert Smith work attire is a little different than most people’s. He wears a bulletproof vest underneath a clean blue collared shirt, a pair of gray wool trousers, and a heavy duty belt that holds two pair of handcuffs, one large can of pepper spray, a radio, a glove pouch, and a baton. His M&P .45 is safely secured in his carry holster and the two attached magazine pouches keep the supply coming in cases of emergencies.

Having served as an infantry scout in the military for 14 years, Smith has always seen himself as a servant of the community and one who can protect others and bring justice. His military deployments range from chiefly distressed countries like Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq to Kenya, Djibouti, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ready to retire from the military, but committed to continue risking his life for others, Smith moved from upstate New York to Raleigh, North Carolina, with a well-thought plan in hand: He would finish his education and become a police officer with the Raleigh Police Department.

With financial support from the GI bill, Smith enrolled in the Criminal Justice program at William Peace University and mastered his classes without any difficulties. The husband and father of four recalls how much he enjoyed the small class sizes and “that everyone was on a first name basis and professors actually knew who I was,” Smith said. “What I liked most about the Criminal Justice program is the way that it is structured. It’s an in-depth program that touches profoundly on legal issues and provides theoretical and applied knowledge of the field.”

Smith credits his internship with the Raleigh Police Department as well as the Criminal Justice program at William Peace University for his achievements in the BELT (Basic Law Enforcement Training) Academy, which is a mandatory program required for entry-level employment as a law enforcement officer. “The high level of education that I received in the Criminal Justice program was quintessential in doing well and passing all classes during my 7-month BLET training. I am truly grateful for my experiences at Peace,” Smith said.

Since August of 2018, the 35-year old Texan can be addressed officially as Officer Smith and found patrolling the streets of Raleigh, where he is making an impact on the community and serving as a positive pillar of influence for young people. “Honesty and integrity is everything. Own your mistakes and protect your reputation,” is Smith’s advice to young people. While he enjoys being a police officer, Smith also plans to explore other opportunities with the Raleigh Police Department and has his eyes on the drugs and vice unit. For now, however, Smith will continue to fulfill his duty to protect and serve the people of Raleigh.

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