Smith receives Sheriff’s Award for Community Service

April 20, 2023

By Chris Carter

Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) Special Deputy W. Thomas Smith Jr. was presented the prestigious Sheriff’s Award for Community Service during the department’s quarterly PROACT (professionalism, accountability, coordination, and teamwork) meeting and awards ceremony, Wednesday, April 19, 2023.

The award was presented for Smith’s local, regional, and national media coverage generated for the department as well as his “instrumental” work, according to the RCSD citation, in the department’s having been named the first in the nation to achieve peace officer status and certification.

“Tom’s dedication to improving the department’s relationship with the community is evident,” said RCSD Chief Maria Yturria as Sheriff Leon Lott presented the award.

“This is a huge personal honor coming from a Sheriff I so-deeply admire and respect, and a department I have grown to love for the past nearly seven years,” said Smith, a veteran U.S. Marine Corps Infantry leader, counterterrorism instructor, and retired S.C. Military Department officer, who has served RCSD in varying capacities primarily through the office of public information since 2016.

A professional writer, New York Times bestselling editor, and an internationally acclaimed military technical consultant; Smith is a veteran war correspondent having covered conflict in the Balkans and throughout the Middle East (twice in Iraq during the war). His work for RCSD has been widely published in POLICE1, Police magazine, Police Chief magazine, Sheriff & Deputy, S.W.A.T. magazine and many others.

In addition to RCSD, Smith serves on the executive leadership team of the National Security Task Force, S.C. Floodwater Commission. He has served as an advisor to the S.C. Military Base Task Force. He was the media relations director for the Medal of Honor Society’s 2010 national convention. And he served as a member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the State Public Health Preparedness Advisory Committee.

The recipient of numerous awards, honors, and military decorations, Smith has received two S.C. Senate commendations; also the Palmetto Patriot award, the highest award presented by the lieutenant governor of S.C.; Global Eco Adventure’s IRONMAN award; the Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston award; and the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest award presented by Governor Henry McMaster.

In 2018, Smith received the Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s Civilian of the Year award.


– Chris Carter is a Jackson, Missouri-based military writer and former semi-pro football player whose work has appeared in Canada Free Press, Deutsche Welle, and among others.