By Mark Turner
To Chief Scot Smithee, thank you for a job well done.
I can’t imagine it’s an easy job being a cop. There are a lot of challenges that go along with being a member of law enforcement, especially these days. While the cop on the street has to deal with a lot of stressful situations, running the department as the chief brings a whole other level of stress. The Chief of Police must balance budgets, deal with politics, manage their staff, be a counselor and consoler, handle personnel issues, implement new mandates adopted by the state, do outreach to the community along with coach and encourage new leaders.
The Chief baton at the Gilroy Police Department has been passed to a 17-year GPD veteran, Pedro Espinoza. Pedro is sure to do an excellent job in his new role.
The man exiting the stage is Police Chief Scot Smithee. Scot has been part of the Gilroy Police Department for nearly 36 years, serving these last four years as the department’s chief. Scot has served with great honor and distinction. He has held this community in high esteem and has had great respect for its residents, visitors and business owners. Not only has the community shown great respect in return, the men and women of the Gilroy Police Department believed in Scot, respected him, and willingly served under his command. Scot was and is a true leader.
In this community’s darkest hour, following the shooting incident at the 2019 Garlic Festival, Chief Smithee rose to the challenge of leading this community and his department through the difficult hours, days and weeks that followed. He stood at the podium answering questions at the daily press conferences displaying the type of strength Gilroyans needed to see in their leaders, yet he was still able to show vulnerability, empathy and a caring spirit. These are the qualities everyone looks for in those they follow.
Despite the challenges and difficulties that go with being a cop, I don’t believe it would be easy, after such a long tenure, to remove the badge and walk away. Scot has served as a police officer in Gilroy for more than half his life. It’s all he’s known. He has invested his best years here to make Gilroy a better and safer place for everyone.
On behalf of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Chamber staff, I’d like to say thank you to Scot for his years of sacrifice, service and dedication.
Mark Turner is President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce.